Reed Travel Features
MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. -- Harrah's Entertainment and Players
International are planning to bring the Las Vegas experience to the
Midwest with the opening of Riverport Casino Center here in the
spring of 1998.
The joint-venture project, currently under construction on the
southeast bank of the Missouri River in the Riverport area of
Maryland Heights, is a $286 million development that will rank as
one of the nation's largest riverboat casinos.
Pending licensing approval from the Missouri Gaming Commission,
the 470,000-square-foot facility will debut in March with four
casinos; a wide array of dining venues; entertainment offerings and
retail outlets, and a 291-room hotel.
Located 20 minutes by car from downtown St. Louis, Riverport
Casino Center will feature a Las Vegas-style exterior theme, with
bright lights, gaming icons and dynamic colors.
Guests will enter the facility through a dramatic porte cochere
leading into the complex's 350,000-square-foot, land- based
The interior of the land-based portion of the complex will
resemble a turn-of-the-century Missouri riverboat town, with an
elaborate wharf and shopfront facade, while the four riverboat
casinos will carry their own distinctive themes, which still are
Harrah's and Players each will operate one riverboat, each
containing two casinos.
Because the gaming facilities will be divided between two
riverboats, boarding times will be staggered so guests will not
have to wait to enter.
Together, the four gaming facilities will offer a variety of
slot machines and table games within roughly 120,000 square feet of
casino space -- more than any other riverboat gaming operation in
the Midwest, according to the property.
More than 3,000 gaming positions are planned for the complex, a
53% increase in the current number available in the metropolitan
The land-based pavilion will house restaurants, entertainment
facilities, shops and a child-care center.
Dining venues will include a Las Vegas-style buffet, which
officials claim will be the largest in the region; a casual
entertainment lounge offering sandwiches and burgers, and two
specialty restaurants, the Plantation and the Range.
Players Island will operate the Plantation, which will
specialize in steaks, seafood and Italian dishes.
Harrah's will operate the Range, which will feature steaks.
Delicatessens also will be located in each of the four
The pavilion will feature a 10,000-square-foot special-
events center that will serve as Riverport Casino Center's
entertainment venue, in addition to the entertainment lounge.
The center also will be made available for corporate meetings,
conventions and other group functions.
The pavilion will contain a variety of retail outlets, which
will be managed by Players and showcase Harrah's and Players
apparel, gifts, specialty candy and other merchandise.
Riverport Casino Center also will be the first gaming operation
in the area to offer child-care facilities.
The complex will feature Planet-4-Kidz, a 10,000-square-foot
supervised child-care center designed to serve infants to
Planet-4-Kidz, an industry leader in child-care entertainment,
operates facilities at Harrah's Vicksburg and Tunica, Miss.,
Harrah's will manage the special-events center, entertainment
lounge and buffet restaurant in addition to the eight-story
Harrah's Hotel will feature 14 suites and 277 upscale guest
rooms as well as meeting rooms and exercise facilities.
The complex also will offer an 1,850-space parking garage in
addition to 3,000 surface parking spaces.
Riverport Casino Center will employ approximately 3,000 people
and is expected to draw about 6 to 8 million guests per year.
The economic impact of the development is projected to be $40
million per year for the state of Missouri and $10 million per year
for the city of Maryland Heights.