Ceasars Renames Windsor Casino, Plans $345 Million Investment
A new year is coming, and a new name is in the offing for Casino Windsor in Ontario, Canada.
The name change comes as the casino unveils plans for a brand new 22-story hotel and entertainment center that officials expect will feature Las Vegas-style performers, and seat up to 5,000.
The move is part of a $345 million investment from the Ontario government, which owns the casino, along with outside investors.
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., of course, owns the Caesars name and a 50 percent interest in the Windsor Casino Ltd. management company will run the re-branded casino.
Tim Wilmott, chief operating officer of Harrah's, said Caesars was "the most recognized, respected casino brand" in the industry.
"Caesars is the most recognized, respected casino brand in the industry," said Tim Wilmott, chief operating officer of Harrah's, during a news conference. "Windsor will live up to that proud tradition, combining first-class restaurants, shows and casino games with an extraordinary level of attentive service unequaled among any Detroit-area casinos."
Under the casino's expansion plan, Harrah's will share profits 50-50 with Hilton Hotels Corp., said Teresa Roncon, spokeswoman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. The Ontario government will continue to use net profits from the casino to fund services.
Smoking Ban HurtBusiness at the casino has dipped during the last six months, ever since a smoking ban was passed by the local government. Revenue from the April-September period dropped to $145 million from $194 million, a year earlier.
The casino currently draws about 4.5 million visitors each year, about 80 percent of whom cross the border from the U.S.
Just across the lake, Detroit's three casinos posted revenues of about $1.2 billion in 2005 and recorded revenues totaling $1.18 billion through November of this year, according to statistics from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
According to Roger Martin, a spokesman for Detroit's Greektown Casino, Greektown has been ranked as gamblers' favorite casino in Detroit in newspaper polls every year since it opened six years ago.
Friday's news briefing followed a ribbon-cutting to debut a new, 9,500 square-foot rotunda capped by a six-story skylight dome. The new rotunda is decorated in Caesars classic Roman theme, with sculptures of angels blowing horns, carved archways and marble columns. A new bar on the rotunda's upper offers expansive views of the Detroit River and skyline.
According to Kevin Laforet, president and chief executive of the casino, the conversion to the Caesars design elements already "has been completed" in one part of the gaming area.
It's the first casino venture outside the U.S. for Caesars, the company said, and 400 new casino jobs as well as 400 new hotel rooms will open soon there.
On the Web:
Casino Windsor: http://www.casinowindsor.com