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Bourbon Street Casino Closing

2 Aug 2005

By Howard Stutz

A small off-Strip casino that had entertainer Wayne Newton among its original investment group will close at the end of October to make way for future development by the gaming industry's largest company.

In March, Harrah's Entertainment purchased the 166-room Bourbon Street and several surrounding parcels totaling eight acres as a potential land investment.

Bourbon Street is on the corner of Flamingo Road and Audrie Street, across from Harrah's-owned Bally's and tucked in between The Westin to the east and the Barbary Coast to the west. The casino has 100 slot machines that are managed by United Coin Machine, a slot route operator.

Harrah's informed the 110 Bourbon Street employees Friday that the property would close Oct. 31. Company spokesman David Strow said the workers would be invited to apply for jobs at Harrah's six Las Vegas casinos.

"This was a strategic land purchase for future development," Strow said, adding that it was premature to say if the building would be demolished.

Harrah's bought Bourbon Street through a subsidiary, TRB Flamingo, and operated the nongaming portions of the building.

Recently, Harrah's closed on the purchase of a small strip mall across from the Bourbon Street that fronts Audrie Street and is anchored by the Battista's Hole in the Wall restaurant. Strow said the Italian-themed restaurant will continue to operate.

When Harrah's closed on its $9 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment in the middle of June, company officials said they would look at Bally's as a potential renovation project.

Bourbon Street opened in 1980 as the Shenandoah, with Newton one of the investors. However, the property landed in bankruptcy court after four years of tangled management without the casino ever opening.

In 1985, a Canadian-based company reopened the facility as the New Orleans-themed Bourbon Street, the first foreign company licensed to operate a casino. However, the casino was sold two years later, the first of many such transactions over the past 15 years.

Today, Bourbon Street, sits under the tracks of the Las Vegas Monorail.

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