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Harrah's Entertainment
Company History

Harrah's Timeline

1937
Bill Harrah opens his first bingo parlor in Reno, Nevada.

1946
Bill Harrah opens Harrah's Club at its present location on North Virginia Street in downtown Reno.

1955-56
Harrah's purchases several clubs at Lake Tahoe in Stateline, Nevada, beginning what would become today's Harrah's Lake Tahoe.

1959
Harrah's begins expansion of Lake Tahoe facility, including the world famous South Shore Room.

1962
Harrah's constructs 400-room hotel tower in Reno.

1966
Headliner Room opens at Harrah's Reno.

1971
Harrah's begins public trading with issue of 450,000 over-the-counter shares.

1972
Harrah's is listed on the American Stock Exchange.

1973
Harrah's becomes first casino company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

1973
Harrah's opens a 250-room hotel tower at Lake Tahoe.

1978
Harrah's founder, William F. Harrah, dies.

1978
The board of directors of Holiday Inns, Inc. of Memphis, Tennessee, approves proposal to build and operate a hotel/casino in the marina area of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

February 1980
Holiday Inns, Inc. acquires Harrah's hotel casino company. Holiday Inn at the time has 1,600 hotels and interests in two casinos: a casino under construction in the marina district in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and a 40 percent ownership interest in River Boat Casino, Inc., a casino adjacent to the Holiday Inn hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

November 1980
The under construction marina casino in Atlantic City opens as Harrah's Marina hotel/casino.

April 1981
Michael D. Rose, president of Holiday Inns, Inc. elected chief executive officer.

January 1983
Holiday Inns, Inc. acquires the remaining 60 percent interest in River Boat Casino, Inc. in Las Vegas. Harrah's assumes management of the casino and hotel.

May 1985
Holiday Inns, Inc. shareholders approved a new corporate name, Holiday Corporation. The new umbrella organization reflects the growing diversity of the company's products - Harrah's Casinos, Holiday Inn hotels, Embassy Suites hotels, and Hampton Inn hotels.

July 1987
Bill's Casino opens in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, next door to Harrah's.

August 1988
Harrah's Laughlin opens.

August 1989
Holiday Corporation's board approves acquisition of the Holiday Inn hotel business by Bass PLC.

January 1990
Holiday stockholders approve transfer of Holiday Inn hotel business to Bass PLC and the spin-off of Holiday Corporation's remaining brands {Harrah's, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites} and assets into The Promus Companies.

February 1990
The Promus Companies Incorporated common stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PRI.

February 1991
Philip G. Satre named president and chief operating officer for Promus.

February 1992
Harrah's announces its first riverboat casino project in Joliet, Illinois, to launch in Spring, 1993.

April 1992
Conversion of Holiday Casino in Las Vegas to Harrah's Las Vegas completed.

May 1993
Harrah's Joliet opens.

November 1993
Harrah's Vicksburg and Harrah's Tunica open.

April 1994
Harrah's Shreveport opens.

April 1994
Philip G. Satre is named Promus chief executive officer. Michael D. Rose continues as chairman.

September 1994
Harrah's North Kansas City opens.

December 1994
Harrah's Ak-Chin casino opens near Phoenix. It is the first Indian gaming operation for Harrah's.

June 1995
The Promus Companies Incorporated spins off its hotel brands {Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, and Homewood Suites} into a new corporation. The remaining company, which consists of the Harrah's brand, all Harrah's assets and a majority of the Promus headquarters assets and people, is then renamed Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., returning the Harrah's name to the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since 1980. Harrah's stock symbol is HET. Michael Rose remains as chairman and Philip Satre remains as president and CEO.

May 1997
Harrah's consolidates its two operations in Tunica County, Mississippi, into the newer and larger Tunica Mardi Gras casino and hotel.

March 1997
Harrah's St. Louis-Riverport, a riverboat casino entertainment complex in Maryland Heights, Missouri, opens.

September 1997
Harrah's launches Total Gold, the industry's first fully integrated national player rewards and recognition program that seamlessly connects player activity among all properties in the Harrah's brand. Functioning like an airline frequent flyer program, Harrah's Total Gold allows customers to earn points for slot play and redeem them for cash, merchandise, food, lodging, or show tickets at any of Harrah's casinos across the country.

October 1997
Harrah's celebrates its 60th anniversary with the culmination of the highly successful Dazzling Diamonds tour. The six-month, ten-city national touring exhibition featured some of the world's most famous and priceless pieces of diamond jewelry.

November 1997
Harrah's Cherokee Smoky Mountains opens at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

January 1998
Harrah's Prairie Band opens in the Kansas heartland, approximately 15 miles north of Topeka.

June 1998
Harrah's completes its $1 billion acquisition of Showboat, Inc. The purchase gives Harrah's four additional properties, located in Atlantic City, East Chicago, Ind., Las Vegas and Sydney, Australia. Harrah's later sells the Las Vegas and Australia properties, while the Indiana property is renamed Harrah's East Chicago.

January 1999
Harrah's and Rio Hotel & Casino, Inc. complete merger, bringing a true Las Vegas destination resort into Harrah's, complementing the successful Harrah's Strip casino.

January 2000
Harrah's Entertainment signs letter of intent with the Rincon San Luiseno Band of Mission Indians to develop and operate a $100 million casino and hotel project on Rincon tribal land in Southern California, north of San Diego. This is the first agreement reached between a California Indian tribe and a major gaming company.

March 2000
Harrah's completes its $439 million purchase of Players International, Inc. The acquisition gives Harrah's casinos in Lake Charles, La., Metropolis, Ill., and St. Louis, Mo. The Lake Charles and Metropolis casinos are renamed Harrah's; the St. Louis casino is merged into Harrah's St. Louis.

March 2000
Total Rewards, the first tiered customer loyalty program in the history of the gaming industry, makes its debut. Customers are assigned one of three tiers based on their play, with progressively greater levels of perks and comps awarded at the higher Platinum and Diamond tiers.

October 2000
The Harrah's Code of Commitment is introduced. With the Code, Harrah's makes a public pledge to its guests, employees and communities to honor the trust they have placed in the company. The Code includes a commitment by Harrah's to promote responsible gaming, continuing the company's legacy as a leader in this area.

July 2001
Harrah's completes the $712 million purchase of Harveys Casino Resorts. The purchase adds four properties to the Harrah's portfolio: Harveys Lake Tahoe, Harveys Council Bluffs, Bluffs Run, and Harveys Wagon Wheel. Harveys Council Bluffs is later renamed Harrah's Council Bluffs, while Harveys Wagon Wheel is sold the following year.

August 2001
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation extends Harrah's contract to manage Harrah's Prairie Band Casino through January, 2008.

March 2002
Harrah's becomes a prime national sponsor of the Meals on Wheels Association's “March For Meals” campaign, with a three-year, $1 million commitment. Over the next three years, Harrah's will donate more than 20 vehicles to Meals on Wheels chapters across the country, allowing thousands of homebound seniors to get daily meals and company.

August 2002
Harrah's Rincon Casino and Resort opens its doors near San Diego, California. The $125 million resort, owned by the Rincon San Luiseno Band of Mission Indians, becomes the fourth Indian casino operated by Harrah's.

December 2002
Harrah's completes its acquisition of JCC Holding Co., the owner of Harrah's New Orleans. The acquisition gives Harrah's complete control of the New Orleans casino.

January 2003
Gary Loveman becomes Chief Executive Officer of Harrah's Entertainment. He succeeds Phil Satre, who retires after 10 years as CEO, but remains Chairman of the Board. Tim Wilmott succeeds Loveman as Harrah's Chief Operating Officer.

May 2003
Louisiana Downs, a thoroughbred racetrack and casino in Bossier City, opens its doors six months after Harrah's acquired it for $94 million. With 900 slot machines, Louisiana Downs becomes Harrah's largest racetrack casino.

July 2003

Harrah’s Entertainment announces its first cash dividend, a quarterly payment of 30 cents per share. Through mid-2006, Harrah’s has paid dividends to its shareholders in 13 consecutive quarters, and offers the largest cash dividend in the gaming industry.

April 2004

Harrah’s and MTR Gaming Group reopen Binion’s Horseshoe, three months after the legendary downtown Las Vegas casino was forced to close. Harrah’s operated the property for one year afterwards. As part of the deal, Harrah’s acquires the rights to the World Series of Poker.

 

May 2004

The first World Series of Poker under Harrah’s is a record breaker; more than $41 million in prize money is awarded, more than double the amount awarded in 2003. More than 12,000 players participate in the 2004 tournament’s 33 events.


May 2004
Connecticut attorney Greg "Fossilman" Raymer captures the Championship of the 35th Annual World Series of Poker. Raymer is awarded a $5 million prize, the largest single purse in poker tournament history.

The first World Series of Poker under Harrah's is a record breaker; more than $41 million in prize money is awarded, nearly double the amount awarded in 2003. More than 12,000 players participate in the WSOP's 33 tournaments.

May 2004
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians extends Harrah's management contract for Harrah's Cherokee to November, 2011.

June 2004
Harrah's captures 585 awards, including 255 first-place finishes, in the 2004 Best of Gaming awards by Casino Player magazine – beating out its closest competitor by nearly 300 awards. This marks the fifth consecutive year Harrah's receives more awards than any other gaming operator in this annual poll of Casino Player readers.

July 2004
Harrah's completes its $1.45 billion acquisition of Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corp. The purchase gives Harrah's control of Horseshoe casinos in Hammond, Ind., Bossier City, La., and Tunica, Miss. The transaction gives Harrah's 28 casinos in 12 states, and makes it the largest gaming company in the world.

July 2004
Harrah's Entertainment reaches a definitive agreement to acquire Caesars Entertainment, Inc. for $9.4 billion. If consummated, the acquisition would cement Harrah's position as the world's largest gaming company, with more than 50 casino properties in 13 states and five countries.

 

December 2004

Harrah’s completes a $168 million expansion of Harrah’s Rincon, tripling the property’s hotel capacity to 653 rooms.

 

December 2004

The Ak-Chin Indian Community renews Harrah’s contract to manage its casino near Phoenix, Arizona, for an additional five years.

 

June 2005

Harrah’s Entertainment completes its $9.3 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment, Inc., the largest merger in the history of the gaming industry. The deal transforms Harrah’s into the world’s largest gaming company, with more than 40 casinos in 12 states and three countries.

 

July 2005

Harrah’s Entertainment is ranked No. 15 in Computerworld magazine’s “Best Places to Work in IT.” This marked the seventh consecutive year Harrah’s was included in the list’s Top 20, an accomplishment no other organization has achieved in the history of the survey.

 

July 2005

Harrah’s captures 869 awards, including 375 first-place finishes in the 2005 “Best of Gaming” awards by Casino Player magazine. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Harrah’s received more awards than any other gaming company in this annual poll of Casino Player readers.

 

August 2005

Hurricane Katrina severely damages Grand Casino Biloxi, Grand Casino Gulfport and Harrah’s New Orleans, forcing the closure of all three properties. In the weeks that follow, Harrah’s launches a sweeping recovery effort to assist the 8,000 employees affected by the storm, including extending base pay for 90 days, opening several assistance centers in the region, and seeding a relief fund with a contribution of $1 million from the Harrah’s Foundation. More than $6.5 million in contributions were made to the fund by the company, employees and outside parties.

 

September 2005

Hurricane Rita destroys Harrah’s Lake Charles. Relief efforts aimed at Katrina victims are extended to more than 1,000 employees impacted by the storm.

 

September 2005

For the fifth consecutive year, Harrah’s Entertainment is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, a listing of the world’s leading socially responsible companies. Harrah’s is the only U.S. gaming or lodging company on the index of more than 300 companies from 24 countries, selected for their economic, social and environmental performance.

 

November 2005

Launching an aggressive international expansion strategy, Harrah’s announces agreements to develop Caesars-branded gaming resorts in Spain and the Bahamas. Separately, Harrah’s announced plans to develop a resort in the Central European nation of Slovenia as part of a joint venture with Hit Group, Slovenia’s largest casino operator.

 

November 2005

Harrah’s announces a $550 million expansion of Harrah’s Atlantic City. Set for completion in mid-2008, the project will add a 964-room hotel tower and a 172,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex.

 

January 2006

Gary Loveman is named “Best CEO” in the gaming and lodging industry by Institutional Investor magazine. Loveman has received the award every year since assuming the post of CEO in January 2003.

 

December 2005

Harrah’s acquires the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for $370 million. The Imperial Palace occupies an 18.5-acre site directly between Harrah’s Las Vegas and the Flamingo, providing Harrah’s with additional land to pursue future growth opportunities on the Las Vegas Strip.

 

February 2006

Six months after Hurricane Katrina struck, Harrah’s New Orleans re-opens to the public.

 

February 2006

Institutional Investor magazine names Harrah’s “America’s Most Shareholder Friendly Company” in the gaming and lodging industry.

 

 April 2006

Harrah’s announces plans for a $484 million expansion of Horseshoe Hammond. Once the project is completed in mid-2008, the Horseshoe will become the Chicago area’s largest gaming destination, featuring a 108,000-square-foot casino.

 

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