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Caesars Entertainment Asks Lawmakers For Rent Forgiveness For Kansas City Casino

General Manager Of Harrah's Kansas City Cited Coronavirus Lockdowns As The Reason For The Ask

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Caesars Entertainment is asking politicians in Missouri for a break on rent for one of its casinos after the shutdowns stemming from the spread of coronavirus hurt its bottom line.

According to a report from the Kansas City Star, general manager of Harrah’s Kansas City Hotel & Casino Julie Sola appeared in front of the city council last week to ask the councilmembers if the casino could get a break on as much as $410,000 in rent payments.

Caesars owns the casino building but rents the land from the city. North Kansas City charges the gaming giant, which recently merged with Eldorado Resorts, $2 million a year or 2 percent of gaming revenues, whichever number is larger.

By going to the city council, Sola was essentially appearing in front of her landlords. She cited the government-mandated lockdowns as the reason for her ask.

“We were closed for 75 days. And clearly that was very, very hard for us,” Sola reportedly said to the council. “During this time due to closure, we did not have any revenues. Yet we still had a significant amount of expense.”

Harrah’s won $7 million from gamblers in the less than three weeks the property was open in March and was closed until June. According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the property lost more than $275 million from the forced closures.

Sola said that since the property reopened, admissions were down 10 percent and the hotel was operating at 65 percent capacity. It was, however, one of the few properties to post year-over-year revenue increases in June, July and August.

The councilmembers weren’t very receptive to Sola’s request and did not seem likely to allow rent forgiveness to the property.

“It’s not reasonable for us to do it. And from their balance sheet, they don’t seem to be in need of it,” said Councilman Anthony Saper. “They’re simply putting it forward because it’s a possibility.”