Mississippi Casino Closing

Caesar’s Entertainment said Wednesday that will close its Harrah’s casino in Tunica on June 2 and lay off as many as 1,300 workers.

Las Vegas-based Caesar’s also owns the adjoining Horseshoe Tunica and Tunica Roadhouse Hotel and Casino in a nearby complex. The company said employees will have preference for openings at those operations and at Caesar’s properties under development in Las Vegas.

The closing comes after years of relentless decline in gambling revenue in the Tunica area, brought on by increased competition and less spending because of the recession.

Two gambling operations in Arkansas continue to grow rapidly, and Tunica’s market historically stretched into areas of Oklahoma and Missouri that now have their own casinos.

Spokesman Gary Thompson says Harrah’s is losing money and the taxes on the property are “onerous.”

“What we do have are a number of loyal players in the market, but not enough to support three properties,” Thompson told The Associated Press.

The company said it would work with local authorities to find a new use for the building. Caesar’s acquired the property in 2005 when it merged with Harrah’s

Harrah’s is the second casino in the Robinsonville area of Tunica County to close.

Isle of Capri closed a casino there in 2002. That casino and hotel tower are still in mothballs.