Brighter prospects ahead for Harrahs N.O.

Jul 24, 2001 6:56 AM

Without giving out any secrets, officials of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) hinted that things were looking up for the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, operated by JCC Holding Co.

But part of the prospects for a brighter future for the embattled gaming facility will come at the expense of 148 employees who are being terminated to save the company an estimated $5 million annually.

Those employees, representing about five percent of the existing workforce, were among the hundreds that attended city and state forums to urge state officials to grant the operating company a $50 million tax break. Without the tax cut, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which had agreed to front the state tax bill, said it would walk away from the project.

Particularly upset by the announced labor cutback was New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial. He was quoted as saying, “The prospect of laying off any number of people so soon after a deal was made borders on bad faith.”

But, the man most responsible for keeping the casino alive, Gov. Mike Foster, looked at the cutback as strictly “a business decision.”