Harrah’s Tunica Casino To Close

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(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.


    • toby

      The public has NO MEMORY, not to mention short memory.The license should never have been granted by Mississippi officials to Caesars which was already HOPELESSLY IN DEBT at the time they applied, amid the licensing controversy. Caesars bought that joint from Lyle Berman’s company, which built the place as the “Grand Casino”. Mississippi state officials MISMANAGING licensing of those casinos is the real problem in Tunica.

  • Tom

    With the economy heading in the current direction, this should be no surprise … I fear when the “dollar bubble” finally bursts, our lives will make “the great depression” look like a minor “correction”..

  • truthseeker1953

    Even the devil is hurting in this obamination’s economy. Wups, forgot it’s Bush’s fault. Never mind.

  • Don

    It will great to drive down Hwy 61 and just see the cotton fields. We don’t need the casinos, They haven’t paid much for several years Good Riddance.

    • Patrick

      Yeah, screw those 1300 people who will need to figure out how to feed their families. Maybe we will get lucky and most of them will get public assistance. I hope they don’t end up homeless and mess up your view. Jerk

      • anthony o

        oh yes ..pleasePublic assistance.. I love working to support others. Are you serious. I hope they are able to gain employment elsewhere. Public assistance..give me a break

    • Sandy

      Easy for you or I to say but, what about the 1300 employees that actually make their living there. To go there and give your money away is terrible but, people do that by their own choice the same as any entertainment they do. A lot of people are going to be hurt by this that have families.

  • takenobull

    Not unforseen. To be entertained at a casino you have to believe if you have four folks in a car one can win. Why drive miles to lose every time you go? When it comes to the point you paying money just to play a video machine time to turn to golf or fishing.

    • Mike

      Whats up is the machines in west memphis are more live and pay better than any house in tunica. You think they knew about this before announcing the 37 million dollar addition at southland, yep. They are sending coupons for play and food the way tunica did in the first years.
      All the loot ends up with the same handful of companies no matter what they call the joint. Even in vegas they have to move it around and rename a place across town. This way no trail burns to long for the feds and they get a nice knew area full of incredibly undermanned law more than willing to allow a wild west scene for free food and a favor here and
      there. Harrahs has had tight machines and bad service for at least ten years. I love the southland scene now and look forward to bass pro being my excuse for jumping over for video poker and free prime rib on thursdays. Ace Man out!

  • Guster

    I worked at Harrah’s and saw this coming over a year ago. Caesar’s was in serious debt because of properties they bought while the economy was strong. The company was losing more money each quarter than they could bring in because they were paying the interest on the loans from the purchases. Harrah’s Tunica would have closed a lot sooner if the Boston property would have been open, but that deal got cancelled. Now they are selling off deadbeat properties to help pay off debts and use the income to open in other areas. They are about to open a casino in S. Korea and seems they needed to cut the losses even more. There is hope that another gaming company will buy this property because it is a resort style property.
    I must say that the idea to give a million dollars away every week to try and put other casino’s out of business didn’t work. Should have invested it back into your marketing!

  • SayNoMore

    @Sassy, for some folk, racism is what keeps them living. If they didn’t have a horrible racist remark to make to the world each day, they fear that death would take them away. Sad for the Casino, but they are in business to make money, and a Casino makes money by taking it from those willing to risk it. If the million dollars a week had allowed the machines to loosen up a bit so that all gamblers could play for a while, and maybe win $50-200 every now and then like it previously was, the doors would not be closing. Instead they over extended and ran good customers away by never letting them have a brag win!!

  • Tex

    This is hard to imagine. I remember when it was called The Grand. I enjoyed staying in a hotel there and taking my chances in the casino. It is unfortunate that 1,300 people will lose their jobs. The economic impact upon the local area must be huge.

  • Arthur

    When the economy is good people gamble more.
    When the economy is bad, people have less disposable income and they gamble less. Look for more casinos to go belly up. And I seriously doubt anyone is stupid enough to buy Harrah’s huge white elephant….but you never know.

    I do know this. The casinos in Robinsonville, MS are very slow during the week, during daylight hours.

  • toby

    All these SHORT MEMORIES. Caesar’s (Harrah’s) bought that joint amid a controversy of having too many joints in the same area. Mississippi STATE OFFICIALS approved the licensing of the HEAVILY INDEBTED CAESARS. B.S. leads to more b.s. Caesars itself is a dying, hopelessly in debt, dangerous, predatory operation. They are casino industry poison. The corporation will be juggling money like a CIRCUS ACT until the FEDS DO THEIR JOB AND BUST THOSE THIEVES.

  • Shanna

    My heart truly bleeds for the 1,300 that will be out of a job. Some of the comments on here are ridiculous!! If it was YOUR livelihood being snatched away I imagine some of you would be singing a different tune right now. I worked at Harrahs for 17 years along side of all of these people and some are very good friends of mine. None of them deserve to be jobless and not one single thing about this sad situation is good news!! And the racism comments are just so inappropriate. This has nothing to do with racism or politics its business…the corporate world. Bad business maybe but nothing anyone did except manage the property badly. And I personally will do whatever I can to help some of these employees find work. That’s what you should be doing if you’re interested the closing of Harrah’s…just saying.

    • Diane Frederick

      What would have been nice if they would have give us a hint this was coming so we wouldn’t have spent out income tax and saved money for this. Also most of us found out we were closing from the news!!!! Harrahs didn’t even have the guts to tell us themselves! They could split off the businesses and sell them separate and probably make more money and sell faster. They don’t make use of the facilities they have to gain revenue. We should have known this was going to happen when they gave away the 17 million – STUPID idea!
      Shanna – I need a job!

  • Wellow

    Regardless to how people think about this closing of HARRAHS, the truth of the matter is you can’t move forward unless you advertise the right way. No one on this page even said anything about all the other Indians casinos opening up everywhere. It was bound to happen and if you think for once that casinos are losing their gamblers, take a ride to another Harrahs property…..Horsheshoe Tunica or GOLDSTRIKE and see for yourself. People aren’t broke at all, it’s the dummies that think that but hey it’s Obama fault rich people aren’t spending their money at local stores REALLY!

  • Gary

    Yesterday evening the general manager called me back and I told him that I had a group of people living here in Tunica that could turn their business around in 30 days. I said they would need free reign and nobody could tell them they couldn’t do that. Each one of them had 35 to 40 years experience in Vegas and here and they would run the place like casinos used to be rum 40 years ago. The general managers statement to me was they weren’t interested in hiring some people to come in and tell them how bad they are running their business. I said he was more interested in putting 1300 people on unemployment. He said this conversation is going nowhere, do these people want to buy the casino? I said no. I said sir God put old people on this earth to guide young people and hung up.

  • GranGran57

    The casinos are not satisfied to make millions instead of billions while the economy is bad and the money just isn’t there for consumers to spend. We are having to make do on less disposable income, so why should their revenue not decrease during this time as well? All the other casinos including Southland should heed this and allow people to at least have a chance to win enough to play for a while, have dinner and enjoy a night out or Harrah’s will not be the only one to close.

    I have not been to Tunica in over a year, and have stopped going to Lady Luck in Carrouthersville. Why? I do love to play video poker and I can go across the bridge to Southland and donate my money without the long drive to either of the others. I sit at the poker bar and listen to everyone griping about not even being able to play anymore.

    GREED has taken over everything!

  • Anita

    We used to go to the ‘strip’ once in a while when I lived in Memphis and what I found true of the whole area was that ‘customer service’ was NOT customer friendly. Not saying everyone but a large number of employees seemed to just really only be their for a paycheck and that was it.

  • bill

    afirmative action is 100 % racial I have never heard a non white or democrat in my 61 years say it is time to stop this form of racism

  • Kim Crowe

    I chose Horseshoe over Harrah’s for my gambling destination many years ago because regardless of the day or time, how long I played, or which machine, their slot machines NEVER paid out. At least at other casinos you’d hit on small payouts occasionally while you slowly lose, but to keep poking in coins and never even hit a wild cherry gets old.

  • John smith

    The odds of leaving harrahs with money in your pocket is low… The yahoos in horn lake and hernando enjoy pulling over casino goers and harassing them. It all adds up to an expensive night.

  • toby

    Rotten Caesars Entertainment, the main culprit in over-saturation of casino markets everywhere, is now claiming, they don’t have enough customers to keep Harrah’s Tunica open. Duh?

  • Dale

    I live in Nashville and have been going to the Harrah’s in Metropolis for a couple of years because it was closer than Tunica. We stopped going there now too because, as I’ve read here, you just never win anything at the slots anymore. I’d rather spend my gambling money on state lottery scratch tickets.

  • Boris Kebbell

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  • Bob Wakefield

    I feel for the 1300 that will lose their job, one of which is my sister. basic problem is too many casinos in a small market. As neighboring states allow more casinos, (Indian, St Louis, Indiana etc.) driving to Tunica is too far. Plus country is in a recession. Immediate Memphis market can only support 4-5 casinos, not nine. Harrah’s had too much overhead and Caesar’s is a debt ridden company. Their well paid execs should all take huge pay cuts and contribute that to the state unemployment funds. Very sad!

  • Mary

    There was talk here in Marksville, La that Harrahs might acquire Paragon Casino. In February 2013 Moody’s officially downgraded to negative the ability of the Tunica Biloxi Gaming Authority to pay the $150,000,000. Note @9% interest which is due December, 2015. The report specifically cited the new Jena Choctaw Pines Casino, Lauberge Baton Rouge, and a regionally soft gaming market.Paragon has been officially losing money for years and have laid off many workers. The Tunica Biloxi tribe of Marksville, La owns & operates Payday Loans.

  • Mary

    I would add that I hope Paragon Casino Marksville does close. Paragon has been a parasite to Marksville, Louisiana and it is the opinion of most locals that the casino has destroyed this small Louisiana city. All the old families have fled. Unlike the states riverboats and Harrahs New Orleans, Paragon is one of 4 tribal casinos never put to a vote of the people. Marksville has a crime rate that rivals New Orleans, and hard drugs in town & on the reservation. It’s a disgrace the Tunica Biloxi tribe operates the notorious PayDay Loans that can charge $100% interest because they are not subjected to federal usury laws.

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