Newell Normand on Harrah’s: Are we getting the best, a fair or bad deal?

Newell Normand
May 17, 2018 - 4:03 pm

The Louisiana Senate passed the Harrah’s bill with amendments still favorable to the state and city with a no-bid 20-year extension and a ten-year option.  This takes us from an annual payment of 60 million guaranteed to an annual payment of $80 million guaranteed…as well as some other increases.   So, are we getting the best, a fair or bad deal? 

Check out some of Newell Normand’s HOT TAKES:

  • We could argue about whether it’s the best deal or a fair deal.  I’ve never been anti-Harrah’s.  I just want us to do our due diligence.  I think the process Sen. Gary Smith Jr. went through was fruitful.  We need Harrah’s to succeed.  If we regulate an industry, we need to regulate it so that they still succeed, not fail.
  • Why is Harrah’s attacking opponents for raising issues?  The financial expert looking at this said they are in the bottom quartile of casino operators.  Did he just make that up?  No, Harrah’s acknowledges it. 
  • If Harrah’s doesn’t deliver a lease to Vici Properties, a real estate investment trust, do they have to pay $85 million?  These are observations made to assess the value of this. 
  • I’m accused of not being fair?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  I’ve agreed with Harrah’s on a number of points.  I’ve also corrected people who’ve accused Harrah’s of not being upfront about some things. 
  • I hope this works out.  I think everybody wants Harrah’s to be the partner.  It would be disruptive to switch it and go with someone else.  That wouldn’t make sense.  That said, this does not mean we should be criticized for doing our due diligence.  
  • Do landowners not go into a negotiation trying to maximize the amount of money they get on a lease?  Don’t insult my intelligence.  Harrah’s is complicating this issue.  How, in good conscience, can they sit here and criticize their opponents for doing just that?
  • They want to accuse opponents of getting subsidies.  Well, let’s be fair then.  Harrah’s was given a monopoly.  They were given a monopoly, no hotel, no restaurants.  We can cry over the spilt milk all we want. 

Listen to Newell’s entire conversation with David Satz, a Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Development at Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

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