Harrah’s Tunica announced this week that it will cease operations on June 2, 2014. The property is a resort with more amenities than any other Tunica casino. The 140,000 square-foot casino with 1,356 rooms is the largest in the struggling gaming market of Tunica County. The closure will leave eight Tunica casinos open for business, however, there will be just two poker rooms.
Poker has been in decline in Mississippi. This can be attributed to competition from Arkansas and Florida, as well as the economic downturn.
Harrah’s hosts 10 weekly tournaments and 14 tables. Its closure will remove half of the market’s tournaments and more than one-third of the poker tables. The only remaining properties with poker after June 2 will be Hollywood and Horseshoe. Hollywood often has just one cash game and spreads just three tournaments each week. Horseshoe, a sister property of Harrah’s owned by Caesars Entertainment, has become the main poker room in Tunica.
Players in Memphis, the closest metropolitan area to Tunica, have a choice closer to home. The Southland Park racino offers Poker Pro digital tables. It also offers slots, video poker and electronic table games. It is just across the river from downtown Memphis and has drawn some gamblers away from Mississippi riverboats.
There have been three poker room closings in the past couple of years in Tunica. Gold Strike, once a powerhouse for poker, closed its room in January 2014. Roadhouse and Sam’s Town closed poker rooms more than a year ago.
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