Caesars Entertainment Inc. announced Samir Mowad as the new general manager at Harrah’s New Orleans. For the previous five years, Mowad has managed Caesars businesses in Council Bluffs, Iowa, including two casinos, a convention center and a Hilton Garden Inn Hotel. Prior to that, he was assistant general manager at Harrah’s New Orleans. Mowad originally joined Harrah’s in 2005 to open the Masquerade night club.
Former Harrah’s New Orleans General Manager Dan Real, now regional president at Harrah’s, said, “Being a native of New Orleans is invaluable for Samir. This is his home, and his deep connection to the community will be felt throughout the property.”
Mowad and Harrah’s officials recently presented to present to New Orleans officials plans for the proposed $325 million upgrade at the casino, including a new 340-room hotel tower adjacent to the current 26-story, 450-room hotel. The project was put on hold due to Covid-19. Harrah’s shut down in March and for the past two months has been operating at 25 percent capacity after Mayor LaToya Cantrell lifted some restrictions.
Caesars reached a deal with Louisiana and New Orleans governments last year to proceed with the expansion in return for a 30-year extension of Caesars’ license to run the casino, starting in 2024 when the current license expires. Caesars also pledged to continue to employ at least 2,400 people and add 500 staff after the hotel was built. Also, it committed to pay for various state and city infrastructure projects, including $19.5 million over three years to New Orleans.
However, because Covid-19 closures sent gambling revenue plummeting, state and local authorities allowed Harrah’s to reduce the minimum agreed-to payments until business improves. “The city and the state have granted us some temporary relief which we’re super appreciative of. Long-term, we have our employment requirements and so we have no intention of going down the road that maybe other companies have with layoffs. We expect both business and licensing requirements to get back to normal.”