Tag Archives: Las Vegas gaming

$5,000-a-spin Slot Machines in Las Vegas

High rollers are not just hanging around at the card tables in Las Vegas anymore. 

Aria in the new CityCenter complex in Las Vegas boasts $5,000 denomination slot machines with a max bet of 1 credit per spin. 

Dig deep and just maybe you too can have a thrill!

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The Venetian in Las Vegas Adds Aresenal of Pocketcasino Games

More than offering just pocketcasino sports wagering, which Cantor Gaming launched at The Venetian last September, Cantor Gaming, an affiliate of the global financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, has announced yesterday that their pocketcasino (only available on the Las Vegas Strip at The Venetian and The Palazzo), is now offering casino style games in addition to in-running sports wagering incuding traditional casino games such as blackjack, video poker and slots.  

Included in the new choice of casino games are innovative games including XtraOdds Blackjack and XtraOdds Baccarat. These games offer extra propositional bets that dynamically calculate odds based on the cards dealt, giving an extra opportunity to press or hedge your bets.  

Pocketcasino gaming promises a dramatic increase to business revenues while allowing casino patrons to multi-task and gamble like never before, including allowing patrons the ability to play casino style games while roaming throughout the high limit slot salon, Grazie gold lounge, race & sports book, and designated public areas currently including  bars, lounges and restaurants at The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas.

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Nevada Supreme Court to Hear Las Vegas Gambler’s Woes

The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered a new trial on punitive damages awarded to a Las Vegas gambler against the Imperial Palace, citing attorney misconduct. 

In an opinion issued last Thursday, the high court said James Grosjean’s trial lawyer, Robert Nersesian, improperly asked jurors to “send a message” to the casino and to put themselves in his client’s position. 

Grosjean, an expert gambler, was awarded $99,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages after he was handcuffed, searched and detained by security guards in 2000 at the request of state Gaming Control Board agents. 

Court records say about halfway through the 45-minute incident, another Control Board agent said Grosjean should be released, but he was not immediately let go.

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Big Changes Coming to Tropicana in Las Vegas

The Tropicana’s new ownership group, headed up by former MGM Grand Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Alex Yemenidjian, plans to spend more than $100 million in the next year to ‘”transform the Tropicana to pre-eminence,” says Yemenidjian. 

The new owners, Tropicana Las Vegas Inc., plan to remodel the hotel’s 1,876 rooms, the casino floor, two new restaurants and center bar, the showroom, convention center and the pool areas with a South Beach Miami theme.  

A new sports book, poker room, and replacing the casino’s slot machines and table games are other planned changes.  

Pedestrian bridges from Excalibur and MGM Grand to the Tropicana are also planning to be extended. 

The changes will be introduced with new marketing and entertainment programs. 

The new owners plant to take over the Tropicana’s nongaming opertions July 1, pending Armenco Holding’s approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission, which meets June 18.

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Malaysian Gaming Company Courting MGM Mirage in Las Vegas?

Is the pre-eminent Malaysian hotel and gaming company Genting Bhd working out a deal with the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas?  Reports out of Asia indicate that Genting’s Resorts World Bhd bought $100 million of MGM Mirage debt.  This debt had been sold as part of the MGM Mirage balance sheet restructuring. 

There are more questions than answers right now:  How will this impact the MGM Macau casino’s?  With the current MGM partner – Pansy Ho – being deemed unsuitable because of possible organized crime connections, is this move designed to bring in a party that the Nevada regulators would approve?  What would the direct effect be on the MGM Mirage’ Las Vegas business ventures including the MGM Hotel and Casino and City Center? 

Stay pointed to Las Vegas Backstage Access for the latest developments.

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Millionaire Fights Back Against Las Vegas Casinos

The former owner of Oriental Trading Company in Omaha, Nebraska is fighting back against two Las Vegas casinos. 

A grand jury has indicted millionaire Terrence “Terry” Watanabe, 52, on felony charges of owing more than $15 million in gambling debt.TerryWatnabe   He pleaded not guilty on May 29 in Las Vegas; his trial is scheduled for November 16.

Watanabe claims the management at Caesars Palace and The Rio casinos in Las Vegas kept him in a constant state of intoxication and gave him prescription drugs. He claims that those actions caused his losses to increase through no fault of his own. 

Las Vegas casino operating policies prohibit serving intoxicated patrons.

The properties are declining comment.

Watanabe could face probation or up to 16 years in prison if convicted of the two felony theft and two bad check charges.

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Legalizing Internet Gambling in Top 10 of President Obama’s Citizen Briefing Book

Poker players simply passively sit, blow wispy smoke designs in the air and look at their cards from behind their stealth disguise of dark sunglasses and ball caps all day long, hoping to just cash in on a good payday.Gambling

Wrong.

Rather, many members of the one-million strong Poker Players Alliance saw fit to actively make their voices heard on the issue of legalizing Internet gambling by flooding the Obama Web site, suggesting online gambling should be made legal.

Their efforts paid off. Poker playing made the top 10 list of subjects sent to the White House when President Barack Obama – a self-proclaimed poker player -asked Americans to send him their policy priorities. Poker playing also ranked as the No. 1 issue in the technology category.

The citizen requested priorities were unveiled last week in a Citizens Briefing Book, made public just days after legislation was introduced in Congress to repeal the 2006 ban on Internet gambling.

In all, more than 125,000 users suggested 44,000 ideas to help the administration properly prioritize their agenda. They cast 1.4 million votes for their favorite ideas, with each supportive vote earning 10 points.

Legalizing poker was suggested by an online player from Washington, D.C., under the heading: “Boost America’s Economy with Legal Online Poker.” It earned 46,890 points.

Poker players beat out a suggestion for increasing automotive fuel efficiency standards (46,120 points), but didn’t outscore “the permanent closure of all torture facilities” (61,250 points).

An American Gaming Association study released Monday shows that 2 percent of adult respondents gamble online. The Poker Players group estimates between 10 million and 15 million Americans regularly gamble on the Internet. They also estimate $3 billion annually could be generated from legitimizing the online gambling business.

This month, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., introduced legislation that would essentially repeal the Internet gaming ban by instituting a framework for licensing and regulating online games.

Religious groups have vowed to maintain the online gambling ban, saying Internet gaming is a threat to home life and family finances.

This year Harrah’s Entertainment became the first major gaming bricks-and-mortar operations to back the online legislation. Nevada Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley signed on as a co-sponsor.

Franks spokesman Steve Adamske said support for the bill depend on the extent to which backers contact their lawmakers, adding that actions like the briefing book onslaught are “hugely helpful.”

In some ways Obama’s briefing book reads like a to-do list he has already started – closing Guantanamo Bay detention facility, developing clean energy sources, supporting investment in high-speed rail.

In others it is purely the voice of the people.

The top 10 issues also include: “Revoke the George W. Bush tax cuts on the top 1 percent,” “Commit to becoming the ‘greenest’ country in the world,” “No more wars on abstract concepts” and “ending marijuana prohibition.”

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Former Binion’s Horseshoe Boss Seeks to Buy Las Vegas Casino

Jack Binion, former Binion’s Horshoe CEO, is very cash rich and very interested in owning a Las Vegas casino. JackBinion

But the deal isn’t inked quite yet. 

“It’s a tough market right now,” said Binion, who sold his Horseshoe casinos in Indiana, Mississippi, and Louisiana to Harrah’s Entertainment in 2004 for $1 billion.

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Actress Teri Hatcher Teaches Daughter How to Gamble

Teri Hatcher may have just caught the gaming bug while staying at the Bellagio in Las Vegas during the “KeepTeriHatcher Memory Alive” charity fundraiser for the new Lou Ruvo Brain Institute back in March (Las Vegas Backstage Access March 7 article). 

Now word is that Hatcher is teaching her 11-year-old daughter how to gamble- so the youngster can hone her math skills. 

The Desperate Housewives actress, also an avid horse racing fan, candidly admits she has started taking her kid Emerson to meetings, so she can challenge her with betting equations. 

Hatcher insists the sport is helping her daughter learn how to add and subtract. 

She says, “I do use the opportunity to make her understand math and what you’re betting and what you get back… so we work on math. It’s fun.”

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Isle of Capri President Virginia McDowell Tapped as 2009 Gaming Executive of the Year

Isle of Capri President Virginia McDowell has been named Casino Journal magazine’s 2009 Gaming Executive of the Year.  

Running with distinguished company, past recipients include Steve Wynn, Boyd Gaming Corporation founder Bill Boyd and Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman.

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Eliminating Tobacco from Las Vegas Casinos?

A new Health Hazard Evaluation report from NIOSH gives ammunition to anti-smoking groups because it’s their first recommendation that tobacco be eliminated at Las Vegas’ casinos. Smoking ban

The recommendation is based on 2005 on-site evaluations at Bally’s, Paris, and Caesars Palace casinos in Las Vegas, confidential medical interviews, and a questionnaire, with non-poker (NP) casino dealers compared with a group of casino employees in administrative and engineering jobs. The HHE says 124 NP dealers out of a total working population of 1,188 NP and poker casino dealers participated in the environmental and/or biological assessment. 

Establishment owners frequently battle anti-smoking efforts by claiming they will hurt business, and the casinos already are reporting sharply lower revenues in Las Vegas for the first quarter of this year. Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., which owns Bally’s Las Vegas and Caesars Palace, said its Las Vegas Region’s revenues in the first three months of 2009 were down 20.5 percent, to $686.4 million, from the same period a year earlier, and income from operations was off by 36.4 percent. 

Titled “Environmental and Biological Assessment of Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure Among Casino Dealers” and written by five NIOSH employees, the HHE says NNAL in the dealers’ urine (NNAL is an environmental tobacco smoke biomarker) increased significantly during their eight-hour work shifts, both adjusting for and not adjusting for creatinine clearance. The dealers also reported more respiratory problems than did the non-dealers, but differences in the prevalence between the two groups weren’t significant, according to the report. The investigators found secondhand smoke components in the casinos’ air, including nicotine, respirable dust, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde. 

“We recommend eliminating tobacco from the casinos and implementing a smoking cessation program,” the authors wrote. “The casinos should also eliminate smoking near building entrances and air intakes to protect employees from involuntary exposure to ETS. A physician should evaluate employees with respiratory symptoms, especially symptoms related to asthma that are associated with workplace exposures. 

A group named Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights hailed the report, saying  “Casino workers deserve the same rights as other workers, including the right to a healthy, safe workplace, free from toxic secondhand smoke. After the release of this report, we hope to see casino workers protected by strong smoke-free workplace laws throughout the country.” 

Executive Director Cynthia Hallett added that Nevada’s current workplace law does not cover the gaming areas of casinos and state legislators are considering rolling back the smoke-free workplace law further. “If anything, these results should convince Nevada lawmakers to strengthen their state law to include the gaming floors of casinos, not roll it back to expose more workers to toxic secondhand smoke.”

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World Series of Poker Prepares to Shuffle Up & Deal in Las Vegas

Despite the sour economy and Nevada gaming revenues being down almost 10 percent in 2008 and more than 16 percent down over the first two months of 2009, is apparently not an overriding concern for officials for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas who remain optimistic and confident that the variety and depth of the best poker playerspetereastgate in the world will be the draw needed for the 57-event WSOP tournament that begins its six-week run May 26 at The Rio, the host casino for the event. 

To sweeten the pot, a $40,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em event on May 28 is expected to draw poker’s most elite players.  Then, two days later, the tournament will host a $1,000 buy-in no-limit event that is expected to attract another approximate 6,000 players. 

If that’s not enough draw, on May 31, a special two-day Champions Invitational will take place with the 27 living previous World Series of Poker world champions being invited to participate in a no-limit hold’em event. 

The 2009 World Series of Poker event will include 10 World Championship $10,000 buy-in events and seven $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments.  The $50,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. event, which mixes five different poker games, will take place on June 26.  The $10,000 buy-in World Championship No-Limit Hold’em Main Event will being on July 3 and reach its final table of nine players on July 15. 

For the second straight year, players will then wait four months before returning to the Rio on November 7 to play for the championship, which ESPN will televise on a same-day taped delay.

Last year’s World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas drew 58,720 entries from 124 countries and awarded a prize pool of more than $180.7 million.  The winner in November was 22-year-old Peter Eastgate of Denmark, who became the tournament’s youngest-ever word champion, taking away $9.15 million in a four-hour heads-up final table with Russian Ivan Demidov.

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Stay and Play in Las Vegas- PLEASE!

Las Vegas visitor volume, occupancy and spending are down as businesses and casinos continue to struggle and reinvent themselves in the recession.  Now Las Vegas is turning to their residents to help them survive.  Hopefully, this will be the winning hand that convinces residents to stay and play awhile before, during, or after their regular vacations. 

There are package deals galore offered at resorts, not only in Las Vegas, but also in Primm, Boulder City, Mesquite and Laughlin. Almost every resort and restaurant is jumping on the bandwagon by offering amazing deals so sweet, locals are opting for a staycation. 

“Stay and play here” is the new Las Vegas slogan aimed at getting locals to spend money in their own backyard. “That’s what we want them to do. We want them to stay in Las Vegas and spend the night instead of traveling to other cities,” said Palms Resort Owner George Maloof. 

Maloof, along with other resort CEO’s are making a deals people can’t refuse. Half-off dinner at Paris, discounts on rooms and rides at New York New York, to name a few. 

“I think the local people just need to be reminded of how great this city is and what great amenities we have. There’s nothing like it in the world,” said Maloof. 

The deals range from entertainment, to shopping, dining and room reservations are all listed on the website http://www.stayandplayhere.com , a site created by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. 

Almost every Las Vegas hotel and casino has jumped on the bandwagon. 

To take advantage of all the deals, all you need is your Nevada State ID.

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Las Vegas’ ‘Robin Hood’ Reaches Out to Captain Phillips & Crew of Maersk Alabama

In 2008, a Las Vegas gambler came up with a grand plan:  use his special skills at the gaming tables to assist families in need.  He then set up a Web site and chose two families to assist.  Robin Hood 702 (“Robin Hood,” as in taking from the rich casinos and giving to the poor; “702″ for the Vegas area code) flew the two families to Vegas in October 2008 and sent them home with more than $20,000 each. robinhood

Now, Robin Hood 702 wants to give to the captain and crew of the Maersk Alabama.  The Maersk Alabama encountered Somalia pirates just a week ago and Captain Phillips was taken hostage in the Maresk’s emergency launch.  

RH702 has offered to bring Captain Phillips, the 19 member crew of the Maersk and each of their significant others for a weekend in Las Vegas.  He’ll pick up the airfare, the hotel room and the cost of all meals. 

“It really touched my heart that someone would sacrifice their own life … for pirates to take him and spare his crew,” Robin Hood 702 said. “It touched my heart…I decided even though Robin Hood 702 is about helping people in financial crisis, I wanted to do something special for these people too.” 

Robin Hood 702 hides his good deeds behind the cover of a secret identify in order to keep the focus on the deed and not on himself.  This isn’t a celebrity stirring up publicity.  And locals who know the true identify of RH702 can’t say enough about him.  

Barry Dakake, executive chef at the 9 Steak House in the Palms Hotel and Casino, said “… this is what kind of person this guy is. This is coming from him. This ain’t coming from no organization, this is him. Robin Hood is putting this together himself and it’s very unique, very special.” 

But RH702 believes it is Captain Phillips and his crew who are special:  “…I want to recognize them as heroes.”    

Captain Phillips may be reunited with his family today.

Welcome to Vegas, Maersk Alabama!  Courtesy of the one, the only. . . Robin Hood 702 (please click on link).

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Guns ‘n Beer Sin City Showdown

Like to get away from it all?  Have a brewskie and try your luck at video poker?  Now you can get all that and – if you’re really feeling lucky – a new 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun to call your own and have some good clean fun!  drinkingguns

The O’Aces Bar & Grill in Las Vegas, 4955 S. Decatur Blvd., is amping up their promotions campaign to lure in a new caliber of customers in our knee-deep recession.   They’re offering a smokin’ 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun as their jackpot to any video poker customer that is lucky enough to hit two royal flush bullseyes within a month.  That’s right.

The spirited promotion is stirring up a whirlwind of controversy, even for a city that sees and does it all.  Some say it’s downright dangerous, providing a legal license to kill.  Bar management quickly counters, saying they’re just being innovative and trying anything they can to survive, adding “it’s our right to bear arms.”  

So far, their innovative new business promotion is  proving to be a silver bullet killer- they’re bringing in customers they’ve never seen before. 

No word on what President Obama is planning to do to curb the proliferation of such handguns.

Win two royals and a scantily clad cocktail waitress just slings you the shiny gun from under the bar and you pack out the heat ?  Wrong.   Instead, the winning,  albeit most likely tipsy gambler receives a voucher that they then take to a gun store, pass a background check, pay the license fees- then pack the heat.    

And, yesiree, there are some other strings attached:  Gamblers need to plunk down at least a buck twenty-five and they must be active O’Aces rewards club members. 

Hurry, don’t miss out on this gunslinging action.  There’s still time to win.  Several of their customers have won one royal flush, but not two of the winning hands- yet. 

Bottoms up!

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Fifteen Bankrupt Casinos

Operating 15 casinos in Nevada, Iowa and Missouri and a 600-location, 6,800-machine Nevada slot route, and herbstcontinuing to be hammered by a sour economy, Herbst Gaming has filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan that will result in the company losing ownership of its casinos but retaining control of its Nevada slot machine route.  

The current management team is planned to remain in place and employees will receive pay and benefits, and suppliers will be paid regularly vows Herbst Gaming CEO Troy Herbst, who owns the gaming company with his brothers.

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Business Booms for M Resort in Las Vegas Valley

Anthony Marnell III opened his new $1 billion M Resort property in Henderson, Nevada on March 1 and Las Vegas Backstage Access was there and wrote on it.  The resort was swamped with 4,000 guests on opening night, forcing many guest to park their cars on the dirt just to get in.  

Attendance continues to surge.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that 20,000 people, lured by the promise of $10 in free slot play, signed up for their slot club in the first two day.    Other guests swamp the two eateries, the Red Cup Café and the Vig Deli.  Table games, at least the $10 ones, are generally packed with clients, even during the week. 

Encouraged by the results, Marnell has expanded his 1,800-member work force by 250 people.  That’s a 14 percent increase in a down economy.

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$1 Billion M Resort Grand Opening in Las Vegas

M-irage, M-andalay Bay, and M-GM Grand…M Resort Opens

And now – drum roll, please - a brand new Las Vegas “M”:   At 10 p.m. on Sunday, M-arch 1, the M-arnell family rolled their economic dice,  threw caution to the wind, as their 1,800 happily employed employees officially opened their new doors to 4,000 eager guests.   Opening fanfare included a fireworks and water and fire show to highlight their $1 billion M Resort and Casino grand opening.   Actually, it’s not even located in Las Vegas but on South Las Vegas Boulevard in Henderson, Nevada about 9 miles south of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign on the Strip.  The latest star to the Vegas resort landscape is being promoted as the best sta-cation destination for Las Vegas Valley locals and visitors that want to get off the well-traveled Las Vegas casino corridor.  

The first feature visitors to The M Resort casino floor will notice is the natural lighting.  That’s right – there are skylights on the casino floor that shine the Las Vegas sun down on the 92,000 square feet of video poker, slot machines and gaming tables including the M Resort’s own Jewelry Box Slots.  

Each of the 390 guest rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible Strip and desert views.  And unlike most Strip hotels, the M Resort offers free resort wide wi-fi, in-room iPod docking stations and nightly turn-down service. 

M Resort OpensTheir 100,000-square-foot pool is incredible, providing a feeling of being in a canyon. 

Guests may also indulge in the luxuriating Organic Oasis Wrap at Spa Mio, dine at Marinelli’s Italian restaurant (one of nine restaurants) and enjoy a concert at the Villaggio Del Sole or in the Ravello lounge.  From the Hostile Grape wine cellar to the Babycakes Artisan Bakery to the 60,000 square feet of meeeting space - the M Resort is sure to have a taste that will entice you to stay.

 The M Resort come late fourth quarter 2009 will be joined in Las Vegas by the new $2.9 billion planned Fountainebleau resort and the $8.6 billion CityCenter project.

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Boyd Gaming Offers $950 Million for 18 Las Vegas Station Casino Properties

On February 23, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Boyd Gaming Corporation, the No. 2 Las Vegas locals casino company, made a $950 million offer to acquire 18 Station Casino properties in Las Vegas. boydgaming

Boyd Gaming currently operates nine casinos in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. 

Boyd is in a favorable financial position having a $2 billion revolving credit line after they halted their $5 billion Echelon resort complex on the Las Vegas Strip last year when their development partners couldn’t get financing. 

In the proposed deal, Boyd Gaming would acquire the bulk of their rival’s properties, Station Casinos would retain ownership of the Red Rock Resort, Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station and 356 acres of undeveloped land they own in the Las Vegas Valley. 

Privately held Station Casinos has been in financial trouble for much of the past 12 months and is on the brink of filing for bankruptcy, The company missed a $14.6 million bond payment on Feb. 2 and a $15.5 million bond payment last week.   On Feb 3, Station Casinos asked its bondholders to approve a restructuring plan that could allow the company to emerge from a Chapter 11 filing by this summer.  Bondholders have until March 2 to vote on the restructuring plan.

Station Casinos bondholders may strongly consider the offer, preferring to have Boyd running the casinos than taking control of the properties in bankruptcy, hoping to retain all the top talent. Lenders don’t want to manage casinos.

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Harrah’s Entertainment Draws Down Credit Line- Prelude to Bankruptcy?

Harrah’s Entertainment recent move last Friday to draw down the $740 million remaining on its $2 billion credit line, could point the company toward financial restructuring that potentially could include bankruptcy filing.   harrahs

Michael Sullivan, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas finance professor, said that Harrah’s could be hoarding cash for operations in light of the current economic climate or to pay covenants on current borrowing. 

Or it could be looking to file a bankruptcy plan. 

Bond and gaming analysts have yet to react to the announcement.  And Harrah’s executives declined to comment yesterday. 

Harrah’s, who told their employees last week it would cut managers’ pay and suspend employees 401(k) contributions during the economic downturn, posted a net loss of $415.1 million from January 1, 2008 through September 30, 2008.  

Harrah’s will report their annual results on March 13.

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