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Harrah's Casino to Close Monday for Transition to New Ownership

EAST CHICAGO, Ill. (April 25, 2005) -- Sunrise Monday is likely to mark the dawn of new ownership for city-based Harrah's casino.

Plans are for Harrah's Entertainment Inc. to close out its East Chicago operation beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, said Harrah's Central Division President Anthony Sanfillipo.

The close-out is pending Indiana Gaming Commission approval today of the transfer of the casino gaming license to new owner Colony Capital.

If the transfer is approved as expected, "We'll begin a process of counting down our operation," Sanfillipo said.

All Harrah's logos, poker chips, cards and other items will be removed, Sanfillipo said.

Harrah's will operate through the night Sunday, but the casino will shut down temporarily until Colony Capital re-opens it as Resorts, Sanfillipo said.

"We would turn the property over to Colony Capital in the late evening and they would begin the process of preparing the property to reopen under the name of Resorts International," Sanfillipo said.

The process is expected to take until 6 p.m. Tuesday, when the casino will reopen, said Jennifer Arnold, spokesperson for the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Joe DeRosa, the general manager under Colony Capital, did not return phone calls seeking information Wednesday.

With the exception of outgoing General Manager Michael St. Pierre, current staff will remain on board, Sanfillipo said.

"The same employees who've been operating the casino will reopen the property," he said.
St. Pierre will take on a new role as regional president for Harrah's, overseeing Horseshoe properties in Mississippi and Louisiana, Sanfillipo said.

Competitor Majestic Star casino in Gary's Buffington Harbor hurried Wednesday to fill the void for customers of Harrah's looking for somewhere to gamble during the transition.

"Is your casino closing?" read a press release issued by Majestic Star.

The Gary riverboat invited Harrah's customers to visit during Harrah's "temporary closure on April 25," in the release.

Majestic Star hopes to lure customers with a technologically advanced service attached to its Club Majestic card with the ability to download credits automatically without using coupons, said Troy Keeping, Majestic Star vice president and general manager.

With Harrah's changing owners, "It's an opportunity for us to say hey, come give us a look," Keeping said.

To see more of The Times, Munster, Ind., or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2005, The Times, Munster, Ind.

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Also See: Harrah's Entertainment Reports 2005 First-Quarter Results; Strong Operations, Acquisition Drive Record Revenues, EBITDA, EPS / April 2005

Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. Proceeding with Construction of a $142 million, 450-room Hotel Tower at Harrah's New Orleans Casino / March 2004

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