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Construction to relocate Harrah's casino under way

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

METROPOLIS, Ill. - Construction has begun at Harrah's Metropolis Hotel & Casino to move the gaming operation from the riverboat into what will be a redesigned convention center.

"This new casino is exciting for us, and what's going to make it different than what we have today is it is on one floor," Brad Hirsch, Harrah's Metropolis general manager, said Friday. "That's just going to be great for our customers."

According to Hirsch, the new casino will provide a better overall experience for patrons. It will feature three bars and a new restaurant, among other amenities, and eliminate the need for customers to go up and down different levels. No estimate was given on the cost of the construction.

Harrah's announced the project in March after receiving state approval for the changes. One of the requirements of the Illinois Gaming Board is for the gaming operation to be over water. The new casino will be in compliance, according to Hirsch.

"We're working with our state regulatory partners on the details of what the water feature will consist of. It won't be anything the customer feels or sees."

The current casino totals 30,985 square feet, according to the gaming board. The current convention center is approximately 11,700 square feet, a casino spokesman said when the project was announced.

Paducah venues have already benefited from booking some events that may be too large for the remodeled casino to accommodate.

Hirsch said the new casino will offer all of the gaming options now available.

No timetable was given for completion of the project. A final decision on what to do with the riverboat has not been made, Hirsch said. The casino will continue operating during the construction.

"We're still fully operational," Hirsch said. "We're not closed (during construction). It will be a seamless transition for our customers."

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

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