Harrah's Hotel Closes 600 Rooms For Safety Inspections

Harrah's Las Vegas closed about 600 of its hotel rooms and moved guests to other company properties in what executives said was a voluntary step to allow inspections amid a review of whether remodeling was done with proper permits.

Guests were ushered out of up to 20 percent of the Strip hotel's 3,000 rooms, said Marybel Batjer, vice president of public policy and communications for Harrah's Entertainment Inc., while top Clark County officials were notified of the move.

"We value the trust that our guests and communities have placed in us," Jan Jones, another company executive, said in a statement, "and the only way we can maintain that trust is to be completely open about the results of the investigation."

Jones said the company was investigating whether proper permits were obtained for remodeling at Harrah's and at the Rio hotel-casino, where rooms were closed Saturday to allow for post-renovation safety inspections.

The move at the Rio's 21-floor Ipanema tower came after the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported it received complaints from an electrician and some workers told the newspaper the project took shortcuts that could jeopardize public safety.

The Harrah's property opened in 1973 as the Holiday Casino and Holiday Inn.

Harrah's purchased it in 1983.

Batjer said the Harrah's rooms would return to occupancy quickly, but said she did not have a timeline.

"Those rooms that are now being identified will be properly, with the county and with an independent contractor, reviewed, remediated, inspected and ... given a proper certificate of occupancy," she said.

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