(Tunica, MS) Gamblers who like to try their hand at Harrah's Tunica were shocked to hear the casino's luck has run out.
Tunica's largest casino will close June 2, putting 1,300 people out of work.
Representatives with Caesar's Entertainment Corporation said business has not been good for a long time, and stiff competition from other casinos in the area is not helping.
Frequent Harrah's Tunica gamblers James Smith and Keyaria Felix are just two of the many customers who will soon have to turn in their chips and find a new place to place their bets.
"We're going to have to find another casino to go to," Felix said. "Hopefully, they'll come up with a solution to keep it open."
The casino, hotels, and other attractions, including the golf course and RV park, will close their doors for good.
Caesar's Regional President for the Mid-South Scott Barber explained, "This is a market that's seen seven consecutive years of year over year declines from a revenue standpoint."
Caesar's Entertainment Corporation owns Harrah's and Barber said, unfortunately, this has been a long time coming.
"Caesar's has been actively marketing this property for a potential sale for the past couple of years. Unfortunately, we haven't found a suitable buyer."
The company is billions of dollars in debt and has been trying to increase cash flow.
Earlier this month, Caesar's sold four of its other casinos - three in Las Vegas and one in New Orleans - to a subsidiary called Caesar's Growth Partners.
However, with no sale in sight for Harrah's Tunica, more than 1,300 people will be let go.
"People from all over work here at this casino, and I just hate for that many people to be out of the job," Smith said, shaking his head. "It's just tragic."
The company's other two casinos in Tunica, Horseshoe and Roadhouse, will stay open.
Caesar's will give Harrah's employees preference at their other properties, but right now, there are only 80 jobs open at Roadhouse and Horseshoe.
“After exploring every other viable alternative, we have come to the difficult but necessary conclusion to close Harrah’s Tunica in an effort to appropriately position our business for the current market opportunity and ensure the long-term viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity,” said John Payne, President of Central Markets and Partnership Development. “We are extremely appreciative of the enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment made by the employees of Harrah’s Tunica to provide outstanding service to our customers. We are determined to provide them with resources to help them in this transition.”
According to Harrah's, the facility has a 140,000 square foot casino and 1,356 hotel rooms and was built in 1996.
The Fitz Casino, also in Tunica, was just sold this past Monday to a company called Full House Resorts.