Caesars Entertainment is going to close one of its two casino properties in Tunica, Mississippi. The Tunica Roadhouse Casino will shut down completely by January 31, 2019, affecting nearly 400 employees.
Tunica Roadhouse Shutdown
In 2011, floodwaters affected the Tunica, Mississippi, area, causing several casinos in the region to shut down. Since then, the remaining gaming venues have struggled to make a profit. Persistent declines have caused Caesars Entertainment to evaluate their two properties in Tunica, leading to the decision to shut down the Tunica Roadhouse Casino by early next year.
The Tunica Roadhouse was the smallest casino venue in the region, with only 31,000 square feet of gaming space and about 700 gaming machines. With the shutdown, the Tunica Roadhouse property will no longer offer casino gaming, which will affect the jobs of around 400 people. Caesars plans to continue to keep operating the hotel at the casino, which has 135 guest rooms.
Caesars Entertainment will offer job-search assistance and training for casino employees. Preference will be given for employment at other properties owned by the company. Caesars also owns the Horseshoe Casino & Hotel in Tunica, which has 63,000 square feet of gaming space and more than 1,000 gaming machines.
Caesars Entertainment’s Mid-South Division regional president, Scott Barber, said: “After exploring every other viable alternative, we have come to the difficult but necessary conclusion to cease gaming operations at Tunica Roadhouse in an effort to appropriately position our business for the current market opportunity and ensure the long-term viability of our remaining operations in the vicinity.”
Along with a decline in business, Caesars Entertainment said that increased competition was a factor in the decision to close the Tunica property. Over the past few years, the number of nearby venues offering gaming has increased. A great deal of Tunica’s business comes from Memphis, Tennessee, and other nearby areas. A recent change in legislation could divert this traffic to West Memphis, Arkansas, instead of Tunica.
During the mid-term elections earlier this month, voters in Arkansas approved a ballot measure making full casino gaming legal in the state. According to VSO News, just over 54% of voters approved it.
The Southland Gaming and Racing venue can now become a fully functioning gambling destination. Located in West Memphis, the facility is only 15 minutes or less from Memphis, Tennessee. The changes at this location and the addition of more gaming venues in the state are sure to give Tunica casinos more competition.