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ILLINOIS GAMING BOARD APPROVES HARRAH'S/HAMMONS FOR CASINO SHIP; WILL BUILD SECOND JOLIET SHIP

 ILLINOIS GAMING BOARD APPROVES HARRAH'S/HAMMONS FOR CASINO SHIP;
 WILL BUILD SECOND JOLIET SHIP
 JOLIET, Ill., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Illinois Gaming Board today approved a finding of "preliminary suitability" for the Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership to develop and operate a riverboat entertainment complex in downtown Joliet.
 Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership is composed of Harrah's Casino Hotels, the gaming division of The Promus Companies (NYSE: PRI) and J.Q. Hammons, a major developer, owner and operator of more than 400 hotels. Harrah's is an 80 percent general partner of the venture and Hammons is a 20 percent limited partner.
 With today's decision, Harrah's will move ahead and currently estimates that by late spring\early summer it will be the first major casino company operating a casino riverboat.
 "The Board's decision means Harrah's can move full steam ahead with this exciting project to bring to Joliet the finest casino riverboat in Illinois and the entire country," said Phil Satre, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harrah's.
 In March, Des Plaines Development Limited Partnership announced an agreement with the City of Joliet to develop and operate a 210-foot-long riverboat accommodating approximately 1,000 passengers.
 The Harrah's/Hammons venture expects to complete construction and outfitting of the riverboat by March and begin operating the cruise ship by late spring/early summer of 1993. The ship will have a "mega-yacht" design featuring three levels, an atrium and 800 gaming positions including a variety of slot machines and table games.
 Based on preliminary estimates, project cost is expected to be approximately $32 million. The project is expected to create 300 jobs during construction and 500 to 600 full-time positions.
 The City of Joliet has designated a three-block area where the city will construct a 220-foot-long boat basin, to be surrounded by a landscaped riverwalk.
 Plans call for construction of a pavilion for ticketing, restaurants, a retail facility and 750 parking spaces.
 At the Board meeting, Harrah's also discussed its plans to develop and operate a second casino riverboat at the same site in downtown Joliet. Construction of the second ship -- a paddlewheel-designed craft -- is expected to begin this November with operation expected in the fall of 1993. The two Harrah's boats are expected to create a total of approximately 1,000 full-time jobs.
 Harrah's selected downtown Joliet for the site's proximity to a market of six million people in the Chicago metropolitan area, Satre noted. Downtown Joliet is located approximately 40 miles from Chicago.
 Harrah's six casinos in Nevada and New Jersey already attract considerable numbers of guests from Chicago and the surrounding midwest region.
 "Our market research and studies indicate that the Harrah's casino ships can be expected to attract approximately two million visitors annually," noted Satre.
 "Guests of our casino ships will enjoy some of the same Harrah's- style fun and excitement in safe and secure modern environments that they experience whenever they visit our other properties," said Satre.
 When the first Harrah's ship begins operating next year, it will be the second casino riverboat in the Joliet area. In June, a casino boat began operating on the Des Plaines River four miles from downtown Joliet, recording $11 million of gaming revenues in its first month to become the most-successful riverboat casino in Illinois.
 Founded in 1937, Harrah's is the only gaming entertainment company operating casino hotels in all five major gaming markets: Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Laughlin and Reno. In addition to Harrah's,Promus owns and operates three leading hotel brands: Embassy Suites, Hampton Inns, and Homewood Suites.
 -0- 10/15/92
 /CONTACT: Bob Dowd, The Promus Companies, 901-762-8790, or (home) 901-527-7875/
 (PRI) CO: The Promus Companies; J.Q. Hammons ST: Tennessee, Illinois IN: LEI SU: PDT


CM -- CH015 -- 0716 10/15/92 18:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 15, 1992
Words:628
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