As New Orleans celebrates her 300th birthday, and we all begin to prepare for our future here, Harrah’s New Orleans is proud to propose a $350 million investment to position the hospitality industry and our city for even greater growth and opportunity. Harrah’s New Orleans is already one of the region’s largest employers, and we are the most visited tourist attraction in the state. Since 1999, we’ve paid over $1.2 billion in taxes to the state and another $300 million to the city as part of our lease. But we know that with more non-gaming space, we can do even more for our employees, the hospitality industry, and state and local governments.
Currently, we are turning away visitors because of lack of space at our hotel. In 2017 alone, we had more than 93,000 visitors turned away because of lack of available occupancy in our hotel. These members of the Caesars Entertainment database are from across the globe, and they could not get a room with us because our hotel sells out nearly every night. One reason is we spend approximately $75 million annually marketing New Orleans as a destination to our Caesar’s database of 55 million people from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. We’ve purchased over $100 million in hotel rooms from other hotels in the city since 1999 and over 25,000 rooms last year with local partner hotels. But we still had over 93,000 guests turned away from visiting our city during peak times because demand outpaces supply. It is time for that to change. We owe it to this community to continue to grow the pie and create a greater economic impact.
That’s why Harrah’s New Orleans is proposing a $350 million investment into non-gaming facilities, including a new 340-room hotel at the foot of Canal Street, world-class restaurant space, entertainment venues and enhancements to Fulton Street. This new investment will create 600 construction jobs and 500 direct permanent jobs. And it will help attract new visitors to New Orleans. That’s why we have the support of the hospitality industry, including the Greater New Orleans Hotel Lodging Association, Louisiana Restaurant Association and Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.
Finally, this development project means a projected $21 million annually in tax and lease revenue to the city and state without raising a single tax. Even further, the state negotiated with Harrah’s to pay an additional $252 million dollars above and beyond the current contract terms. This new revenue, $7 million per year, will help the State budget.
It’s rare to have a project be a win-win for all involved. As our city celebrates our 300 year history, we are looking to being a part of New Orleans’ very bright future.
regional president–South, Caesars Entertainment