(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is still unable to estimate the full extent of damage from Hurricane Katrina at Harrah's New Orleans, Grand Casino Biloxi and Grand Casino Gulfport, although it is obviously apparent that the Biloxi and Gulfport properties have suffered extensive damage.
Officials at Harrah's note that they have business interruption and property damage insurance covering each of the three properties as well its other assets in the Mississippi Gulf Coast area. The company is working closely with its insurance carriers and claims adjusters to ascertain the full amounts due to Harrah's.
Harrah's Entertainment currently expects that Harrah's New Orleans will remain closed for a minimum of four weeks while the company assesses the property's status and makes remediation and repairs in order to resume operations. The company is currently unable to provide an estimate on re-opening dates for Grand Casino Biloxi or Grand Casino Gulfport.
Harrah's six other properties in Louisiana and Mississippi — Harrah's Lake Charles, Horseshoe Bossier City, Harrah's Louisiana Downs, Grand Casino Tunica, Horseshoe Tunica and Sheraton Casino & Hotel Tunica — are actively supporting relief efforts and remain in full operation.
More than 6,000 employees work at the affected properties. Harrah's says it intends to continue paying employees at the affected properties their regularly scheduled base pay for up to 90 days.
In addition, Harrah's has established the Harrah's Employee Recovery Fund to assist employees affected by the hurricane. The Harrah's Foundation, a non-profit charitable corporation funded by Harrah's Entertainment, has provided the relief fund with $1 million in initial financing. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen