Planet Hollywood Casino To Be Purchased By Harrah’s
Sunday, 14. February 2010

The casino giant, Harrah’s, recently received permission from the Nevada Gaming Control Board to acquire the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. The move increases the number of Harrah’s Vegas Strip properties to nine.

In addition to its chief property, Harrah’s currently retains ownership in the Flamingo, Paris, Ceasars Palace, Bally’s, Imperial Palace, Bill’s Gambling Hall and the Rio. The Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino was once known as the Aladdin and towers high above the Las Vegas Strip. Planet Hollywood hosts a 15 table poker room offering Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Pineapple games with $2/$4, $4/$8 and $5/$10 limits. In addition, their poker room offers four daily with buy-ins of up to $70.

The chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, Dennis Neilander, commented that Planet Hollywood was headed for some sort of restructuring, perhaps even bankruptcy, and the move would offer a smooth transition for many of the Planet Hollywood employees. The Nevada Gaming Control Board is scheduled to arrive to a formal decision on February 18th as regards Planet Hollywood’s sale to Harrah’s and if the move is in fact approved, ownership could possible change hands as soon as the following day.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported that Harrah’s had acquired $306 million of Planet Hollywood’s debt for $70 million. In exchange for the purchase, Harrah’s received 100% ownership of the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Harrah’s is expected to invest $30 million in capital into the property and it is assumed that a $554 million mortgage loan will remain on the Planet Hollywood Resort upon the deal’s completion. Planet Hollywood currently employs approximately 2,300 workers and more than 95% of them can expect to keep their jobs after the acquisition.

The food and beverage operations of Planet Hollywood were taken over by Harrah’s on January 16th and Harrah’s will now be able to license the Planet Hollywood name to other casinos around the world.

Jonathon Halkyard, Harrah’s Chief Financial Officer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper that Harrah’s began to purchase Planet Hollywood’s debt because they felt it “would be a very complementary addition to our portfolio in Las Vegas.” Harrah’s purchased the rights to the World Series Of Poker (WSOP) in 2004 and moved the venue of the tournament series from the Horseshoe to the Rio, just off the Las Vegas Strip. In addition, purchase of the rights to the WSOP brought the tournaments action to a number of Harrah’s major properties around the US, including their Tunica, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe and Caesar’s Atlantic City resorts.

The CityCenter was recently opened across the street from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino and is home to the Aria Casino, Veer Towers, Mandalay Orient, Crystals and a host of upscale restaurants and posh retailers. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that construction of a walkway connecting the CityCenter with Planet Hollywood is under consideration which would allow Planet Hollywood to capitalize on the foot traffic across the street.

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