Harrah’s unveils Las Vegas stadium plans

HarrahsCasino operator Harrah’s Entertainment (NYSE: HET) and partner AEG announced that it plans to build a $500 million arena in Las Vegas capable of housing a pro sports team. If given approval, the 20,000 seat venue will be constructed behind the Bally’s and Paris hotel-casinos on the Strip, and is projected to open in 2010.

The deal would put a dent in Mayor Oscar Goodman’s plans to have an arena built downtown with the help of tax breaks, but he said such plans would go forward. The site for the Harrah’s-AEG arena, a block east of the Strip, is in unincorporated Clark County, outside city limits.

AEG, a subsidiary of Denver billionaire and Qwest Communications founder Philip Anschutz’s Anschutz Co., owns the LA Galaxy and the Staples Center in Los Angeles and has booked such acts as Celine Dion and Bette Midler at Caesars Palace. It said it was in talks with professional leagues and potential team owners about bringing hockey or basketball to Las Vegas.