Caesars Entertainment to stop all gambling at Tunica Roadhouse Casino

Updated: Nov. 28, 2018 at 6:54 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Caesars Entertainment announced it will end all gambling at Tunica Roadhouse Casino on January 31.

Casino-goer Monica Greene said she's keeping her fingers crossed for a Tunica turnaround.

"It's sad to see another one close because there was so much business when it opened down here," said Greene.

Caesars operates the hotel and casino at the Horseshoe next door, which will both stay open, along with the hotel on the roadhouse property.

Tunica Roadhouse first opened as the Sheraton in 1994.

President and CEO Webster Franklin said Caesars is going to operate the 135 room hotel so it won't shut the property down fully

"And I think that can lead to potential reuse of the facility,," said Franklin.

Tourism officials said the Tunica gaming market is a $550-600 million industry, roughly half of what it was in its heyday in the late 2000s.

Caesars said the decision to close gaming at the Roadhouse comes after declines in business.

Tunica casino operators have jumped on board with Mississippi's authorization of sports betting, hoping that combined with the new I-269 would be a shot in the arm.

Earlier this month Arkansas voters signed off on creating 4 true casinos in the state, including one at Southland in West Memphis, where gaming expansion is promised.

"What this does say is what's the future? How do we protect the industry," said Franklin.

Caesars and the Mississippi Economic Council have commissioned a study on the past present and future of gaming in Tunica.

A draft report is expected early next year.

"Our elected officials in the state need to look at ways that we can sustain the gaming industry in the next 25 years," said Franklin.

About 400 employees are currently employed at Tunica Roadhouse. Some of them work in the hotel, which will stay open.

They will also get preference at other Caesars Entertainment properties like Horseshoe.

Franklin said they expect to learn more in conversations with Caesars executives but estimates roughly 100 to 125 may be displaced.

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