Harrah’s backs Guidivilles

Sep 21, 2004 9:23 AM

If the California lawmakers don’t like placing a casino in San Pablo, maybe they would prefer approving a gambling emporium in Richmond at a former naval depot across San Francisco Bay.

Certainly, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) hopes the Richmond site is more acceptable to the legislative leaders who ordered that action on the plan proposed by the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, and approved by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, be tabled until December. Harrah’s is backing the Richmond plan proposed by the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians.

Although the Richmond City Council unanimously approved the casino proposal, they admitted they need the additional support of a local judge who placed a restraining order on the project because of objections from Chevron USA Inc. The oil company claims Richmond must offer to sell the land proposed as the casino complex to public agencies before seeking a deal with private developers.

Chevron’s principal complaint is that the former naval fuel depot serves as a security buffer zone for one of its refineries.

The plan underscores the size of Harrah’s Entertainment, whose bid to acquire Caesars Entertainment Inc. (CZR) is being scrutinized by the Federal Trade Commission.

Recently, Harrah’s proposed a $700 million casino in Rhode Island in partnership with the Narragansett Indians, a plan that was shot down when the courts ruled that a referendum seeking approval of the plan was unconstitutional.