- Harrah's New Orleans Casino is seeking approval from Louisiana lawmakers for its plan to build a second hotel, at a cost of up to $340 million, next to its existing downtown hotel and gambling complex, according to The New Orleans Advocate.
- Harrah's officials said the 24-story, 340-room hotel will have 20,000 square feet of meeting space, a gym, a rooftop pool, restaurants and a nightclub but no additional gambling space. Harrah's existing hotel has 450 rooms, and the company needs authorization from the state legislature to exceed that number, to expand food service and to extend its casino contract.
- As an incentive for approval, Harrah's has offered to pay for police and fire services for the complex, which is estimated at $3.6 million a year. The hotel project is expected to create 600 temporary construction jobs and provide $21 million in various taxes and revenues for the city and state.
The fact that Harrah's doesn't want to expand gaming space will probably aid in its attempt to get the project approved. It also speaks to the trend of casinos trying to appeal to families and not just gamblers.
The Catskill Mountains in New York were once a magnet for families looking for a memorable summer vacation, and Resorts World Catskills is trying to recreate that success with a new $900 million casino complex on the site of the historic Concord Hotel, according to the New York Daily News. The development north of New York City will feature more than 150 gaming tables and 2,150 slot machines as well as restaurants and bars. In the future, total investment in the Catskills is expected to expand to $1.2 billion with the addition of new hotels, a water park, an entertainment village and a golf course.
The Catskills project is just one Resorts World development featuring elements to attract more than just gamblers. The company is also building a $4 billion, Chinese-themed 7,000-room casino and resort in Las Vegas on the site of the former Stardust Hotel and Casino. The first phase is scheduled to open this year.
In addition to a casino, the project will feature a tower with more than 3,300 rooms, more than 650,000 square feet of public space, a movie theater, a convention center, a lake and a Chinese garden. Eventually, it will house replicas of the Forbidden City and Great Wall of China and a panda exhibit.