March 10, 2004

Harrah's Entertainment Inc. last week approved plans to construct a 450-room hotel tower at its Harrah's New Orleans Casino. The 26-story tower will open in early 2006 and cost $142 million.

Rhode Island's extended battle over a possible casino in West Warwick expanded this week to include the state's Hospitality and Tourism Association. Since the Narragansett tribe and financial backers Harrah's Entertainment announced their development plans last month, the proposed $500 million venue has met with considerable opposition from competing state gambling parlors, which claim the new casino will only deplete state revenue. Rhode Island's Tourism Association has recently joined the choir of dissent, concerned that the casinos will take business from the convention center and area hotels.  Developers currently are awaiting approval from both the general assembly and local voters.