Casino Gambles Grounded

The economic downturn is leading casino company execs to stop gambling on new properties and take a closer look at what’s already available.

Harrah’s Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman told a conference of casino operators in mid-November that it’s time to face reality.

“One of the challenges that has plagued the casino industry for a long time is that we spend money like drunken sailors,” Loveman said. “I think the industry is going to have to get accustomed to the notion that not every project is a good project – and $1 billion is a lot of money, after all.”

That’s not to say that developing new projects can’t be undertaken – money just can’t be borrowed that cheaply now to justify the expense.

Harrah’s is reportedly working to restructure its debt and consolidated its workforce by closing its Memphis office and data center, releasing about 250 people.

The company also withdrew a proposal Nov. 17 to manage a $535 million state-owned casino in Kansas because of “unprecedented disruption in world financial markets.”