Harrah's deal dies in waning hours of legislative session

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Updated: May. 18, 2018 at 9:14 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A bill to extend the Harrah's Casino operating contract died Friday in the final hours of the spring legislative session.

Earlier this week, House lawmakers rejected the Senate's amendments to the bill and sent the measure to a conference committee made up of both House and Senate members.

A Harrah's spokesman said they are disappointed the bill could not proceed.

"We are disappointed that HB 553 could not proceed. This means that the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana lose 600 construction jobs, 900 permanent jobs and $28 million in incremental tax revenues and payments through 2024, when Harrah's license lapses.  These much needed jobs and revenues were denied despite the state's current economic and fiscal conditions, which threaten basic needs. Had HB 553 become law even as initially proposed, state and city tax revenues would have been over $1 billion more than the current mandated payments.   We sincerely appreciate the efforts of many legislators, but especially House Speaker Taylor Barras and State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, for their relentless commitment and effort to secure passage of HB 553 in a form that preserved the upside for state and city government, as well as the investment economics for the company.   While we will now move on to create jobs and incremental government revenues by investing elsewhere,  Harrah's New Orleans remains committed to being a responsible community partner and employer-of-choice for our 2,400 loyal and hardworking local team members."

Harrah's current contract with Louisiana doesn't expire for six more years. But the casino wanted to renew now, and in exchange for that, it promised to invest $350 million into the casino and property around it.

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