In maybe a not-so-surprising announcement, the Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Casino on Poydras Street in New Orleans said that it is seeking permission from the Louisiana legislature to cut about 400 jobs in the wake of the New Orleans smoking ban.
Just today, Harrah’s had the plan attached to legislation that dealt with the licensing agreement between the state and Harrah’s. But, once Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) got word of the plan, she asked that it be postponed, saying she was unaware of the decision by the casino.
Likewise, apparently Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans and the New Orleans City Council had no clue about Harrah’s job-cutting request either.
Ever since 2007, Harrah’s has requested that the state allow the casino to reduce its payroll numbers in order to save money while their revenue has shrunk for years.
This time around, Harrah’s may get their wish, as the city’s smoking ban is set to reduce their revenue numbers even more, meaning the legislature could try to help the casino from plummeting because of city regulation.
Dan Real, the South regional president for Caesars Entertainment and senior vice president and general manager for Harrah’s, told the Advocate that the smoking ban will more than likely have a negative impact on the casino’s business, but that the main reason for the job-cutting request is so that the company’s labor costs can be more in-line with its competitors.
The smoking ban is being contested in court from a number of French Quarter and New Orleans business owners, who say the ban is “vague” and will have a negative affect on their business operations in the city.