Harrah’s New Orleans Rebrand to Caesars and Hotel Opening Set for This Fall

Harrah’s New Orleans officials said this week that the Big Easy casino’s rebranding to Caesars and the opening of the destination’s first on-site hotel are slated for this fall.

Construction continues at Harrah’s New Orleans. The $325 million project includes rebranding the downtown brick-and-mortar casino to Caesars New Orleans and opening the casino’s first on-site hotel. (Image: Casino.org)

Harrah’s New Orleans struck a deal with state lawmakers in 2019 that extended the land-based casino’s gaming license through 2054. The agreement came with costly conditions for Caesars Entertainment, which operates the casino, including a minimum investment of $325 million in property upgrades.

Caesars said much of those funds would be used to build the casino’s first hotel. Since Harrah’s opened in 1999, the casino has partnered with nearby hotels to offer guests lodging.

Samir Mowad, the general manager of Harrah’s New Orleans, says the 15-story, 340-room hotel is nearing completion. The hotel, Mowad said, will be ready sometime this fall.

New Orleans will host Super Bowl LIX on Feb. 9, 2025, at the Caesars Superdome. Harrah’s New Orleans will officially become Caesars New Orleans before the big game. 

Extension Likely

Caesars’ original agreement with Louisiana requires the casino to employ at least 2,400 people. Caesars’ 2019 licensing extension permitted the company to drop below the 2,400-worker threshold during construction. This week in Baton Rouge, the Senate Judiciary B Committee voted to extend the employment number exemption until 2025.

Mowad said “every square inch” of the casino is being renovated for the rebranding to Caesars New Orleans. He estimates that only about 60% of the casino space is currently operational, as big changes to the facility persist.

Once the restaurants and hotel open, we’ll get back to full employment,” Mowad said.

With the Senate Judiciary B Committee’s approval, the measure moves to the full Senate for consideration. The legislation is Senate Bull 277.

Caesars brass explained the delays in bringing the hotel to completion were due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Louisiana’s stay-at-home order in March 2020 didn’t consider construction to be “essential business” and, therefore, work on the hotel was temporarily suspended. Subsequent supply chain issues caused further delays.

Costly Guarantees

Harrah’s New Orleans has reported three consecutive years of annual gross gaming revenue (GGR) growth since emerging from the pandemic.

The casino won about $213.2 million from players during the 2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021). Casino win climbed to $228.3 million in fiscal year 2022 and to $260.2 million in FY23.

Though Harrah’s continues to trend positively, the casino’s GGR generated during the most recent fiscal year represents only 89% of the $291.5 million that it reported in 2019.

Harrah’s is required to send the state a minimum of $60 million a year in gaming taxes or 18.5% of the casino’s gross revenue, whichever is greater. Since the 2019 license extension, the casino has additionally paid the state $3.4 million annually, which the state uses to fund problem gambling programs, water infrastructure, early childhood education, and cancer research.

The City of New Orleans received a one-time $19.5 million payment from Harrah’s in 2019 when the state lengthened the gaming license through 2054.  

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