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Caesars Palace holding off on new tower in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS — The world's largest casino company has postponed plans to build a new tower at Caesars Palace, citing economic uncertainty after last week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Park Place Entertainment chief executive Thomas Gallagher said in a prepared statement Monday that postponing construction of the $475 million tower will keep the company financially flexible and was "the prudent thing to do."

Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip has some 2,400 rooms in four towers; the tallest is 30 floors. The new 29-story tower had been expected to open with 900 rooms in early 2004.

Building continues on the Colosseum, a $75 million, 4,000-seat entertainment center at Caesars, Gallagher said, and is scheduled to open in March 2003.

Scott LaPorta, Park Place chief financial officer, said the company has suspended plans for other projects and was considering leaving some vacant employee positions unfilled.

At some Las Vegas Strip hotels, weekend occupancies were reportedly at half their usual level as guests stayed home or were grounded by airline restrictions. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority researcher Kevin Bagger said there was no way to estimate the financial effect of the week's events.

Park Place owns, manages or has an interest in 29 casino properties under the Caesars, Bally's, Paris, Flamingo, Grand Casinos and Hilton brand names. It employs about 60,000 people in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, N.J., Mississippi, Australia, Uruguay and Canada.