Harrah's New Orleans claims $70M in losses from smoking ban

Mar 23, 2017 9:29 AM

Caesars Entertainment president and CEO Mark Frissora says Harrah's in New Orleans lost about $70 million in revenue during the two years after the start of the controversial smoking ban in New Orleans in April 2015. He and other executives spoke to a Louisiana Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force this week in Baton Rouge.

The casino is one of the three in Louisiana owned by Caesar's. The other two are in Bossier City.

Frissora said the ban makes it difficult to compete with venues in the surrounding area, because it only affects Orleans Parish.

"It's not fair because everyone else around us doesn't have the smoking ban," Frissora said.

Dan Real, Caesar's Entertainment president for the south region of the U.S., said the company's first quarter in 2015 was its best in that property's history, just before they were "hit" by the ban.

According to the presentation given by the Caesar's representatives, between 2013 and 2016 the Northwest Louisiana and New Orleans locations have collectively contributed $2.3 billion to the state in gaming tax revenues.

Although the smoking ban hurt revenues for the state and New Orleans, in addition to Caesars, government officials say it is unlikely to be reversed.