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Harrah's First Horseshoe Undertaking will be Resort in Council Bluffs, Iowa12 January 2005
By Howard Stutz
Harrah's Entertainment announced Tuesday it will build its first resort under the well-known Horseshoe brand, turning a racetrack casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, into the state's largest gaming establishment.
The Council Bluffs City Council approved construction of an $85 million project to create Horseshoe Council Bluffs at the site of the Bluffs Run Casino, which is adjacent to a racetrack and had been part of the Harvey's Casino chain, which was bought out by Harrah's in 2001.
Harrah's purchased the Horseshoe brand nationwide last year from Jack Binion when the company bought his three-riverboat casino operation. Later, Harrah's purchased the rights to the Horseshoe brand in Nevada when the company bought the World Series of Poker and Binion's Horseshoe. The company subsequently sold the downtown property to MTR Gaming Group but kept the Horseshoe name.
"The Horseshoe brand is so well known and so strong, we wanted the right new market to introduce the name to a whole new set of customers," Harrah's spokesman Gary Thompson said. "The property (in Council Bluffs) was pretty run-down and in dire need of a remodeling. This allows us to accomplish that task and also rebrand the property under the Horseshoe name."
Harrah's will construct 68,000 square feet of gaming space and several restaurants on the site. The project is slated to finish in 2006's first quarter.
Harrah's also operates a riverboat casino in Council Bluffs that competes with the Ameristar Council Bluffs, the state's largest riverboat casino.
The Horseshoe project, directly across the Missouri River from Omaha, Neb., will be the community's only land-based casino. Harrah's estimated the new property would generate $50 million in new tax revenue for Iowa through end fiscal 2010.
"Harrah's investment in Council Bluffs speaks volumes about the business climate we have created here," said Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan in a statement released by Harrah's. "This project will serve as a major economic catalyst in the region, creating jobs and strengthening our tax base."
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