Harrahs Extension Picks Up Momentum
The Harrah’s Casino 30-year license extension effort rolled through the House and is on it’s way back to the Senate, where it died last year.
In return for a substantial extension, House Speaker Taylor Barras’ bill asks for Harrah’s to invest $325 million to upgrade the facility, including building a new hotel.
“(They will) add a 340 room hotel to the property, plus additional non-gaming amenities.”
The bill does not expand the gambling floor space for the facility.
The agreement also calls for the gaming house to up it’s payments to the state by tens of millions of dollars relative to the last deal, Barras says that includes minimum yearly payment to the state from Harrah’s of 65 million dollars, that increases over time…
“There is a 10 percent payment that we direct to the SELF fund for K-12 teacher pay, the rest of the 90 percent paid to the general SELF fund which also covers some of the higher ed salary expenses.”
This year’s version pays the state 130 million dollars more over the length of the deal than last years, which collapsed amid disputes over allegations it was too generous to Harrah’s.
The bill reportedly has Senate President John Alario’s backing, and was appraised to be at market value, compared to the payments the state would have received had they opened the contract to bids. Barras says it’s a good deal for everyone involved.
“This is a great opportunity for both Louisiana and a lot of benefactors to where we hope we can direct some of the dollars that receive, as well as the City of New Orleans.”
The bill calls for Harrah’s to also make an upfront payment once the agreement is struck, 7.5 million to New Orleans, and 17.5 million to the state.