Harrah’s New Orleans Reopening June 13, Big Easy Casino to Limit Capacity

Posted on: June 10, 2020, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: June 10, 2020, 01:13h.

Harrah’s New Orleans, the only land-based commercial casino in Louisiana, says it will reopen its doors this Saturday, June 13, at 10 a.m.

Harrah's New Orleans casino reopening
Harrah’s New Orleans has sat dark for nearly three months. Its inside lights turn back on this weekend. (Image: Deb Riechmann/AP)

The announcement comes after New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the city will move into Phase 2 of her reopening plan this weekend. Beginning Saturday, gaming establishments, which in the city include Harrah’s and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, can reopen at 25 percent capacity.

Lodging, dining, slots, and table games will be available with social distancing measures in place. We can’t wait to welcome you back!” Harrah’s New Orleans tweeted.

The Big Easy resort, owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, was forced to suspend its operations on March 17 on Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) orders.

The Pelican State, and specifically New Orleans, was hit especially hard by the coronavirus. Louisiana has reported more than 44,000 positive COVID-19 test results, with nearly 3,000 deaths. The Orleans Parish, home to New Orleans, accounts for 7,279 cases.

Limited Reopening

Harrah’s New Orleans says its casino spaces are being reconfigured to adhere to directives from the city and LGCB.

Slot machine banks will be arranged to allow for proper physical distancing. Table games will come with reduced seating, and poker remains suspended. Prior to the pandemic, Harrah’s New Orleans featured more than 1,500 slot machines and 100 table games.

Both employees and guests will be required to undergo body temperature checks and wear face masks, which will be provided by Harrah’s. The casino is also increasing its cleaning and sanitization protocols.

Smoking inside the casino was banned through the New Orleans City Code Chapter 66, Article II, passage in 2015. To cater to smokers, Harrah’s New Orleans built three climate-controlled gaming patios where cigarettes are permitted. Today, the patios have approximately 125 slot machines and several blackjack tables.

Caesars reached a 30-year deal with New Orleans last year that allows it to retain the lone casino license in the city proper. In exchange, the casino company must invest a minimum of $325 million in property upgrades over the next three decades. Its first capital investment is a 340-room hotel tower that will feature new restaurant and entertainment space.

Harrah’s New Orleans has guaranteed to pay the state at least $60 million in annual tax revenue, and the city $19.5 million over the next three years. The casino also made a $9.4 million contribution to the state education system.

Louisiana Gaming Reopens

Many of Louisiana’s 15 commercial riverboat casinos reopened May 18, including Golden Nugget Lake Charles, Boomtown New Orleans, Horseshoe Bossier City, L’Auberge Baton Rouge, Hollywood Baton Rouge, and Belle of Baton Rouge.

Today, all are open except one: DiamondJacks in Bossier City. Parent company Peninsula Pacific Entertainment announced its permanent closure last month due to “business circumstances.”

Five tribal casinos in Louisiana have also reopened.