Koster Named New Emperor of Caesars Eastern Division, To Oversee Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino

Written By Katie Kohler on June 11, 2021 - Last Updated on December 11, 2023
Harrah's Casino Philadelphia and Caesars' A.C. Properties Have a New Leaderr.

Caesar’s eastern empire has a new ruler. Caesars Entertainment tapped John Koster for the role of Regional President. Koster brings 40 years of experience in hospitality and gambling.

He will oversee the Eastern Division which includes Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and three properties in Atlantic City – Tropicana, Harrah’s Resort, and Caesars. In addition, Koster will lead Horseshoe Baltimore.

Anthony Carano, president and COO of Caesars Entertainment, said in a press release about Koster’s new role:

“John’s in-depth knowledge of the gaming industry, as well as his passion for going all-in on service, make him the logical choice to lead our East Coast properties into the future.”

John Koster (Photo courtesy of Caesars)

Koster has extensive gambling experience

Koster most recently held the position of senior vice president and general manager of Caesars Entertainment’s Lake Tahoe properties. So far, his career spanned five different countries from Nevada in the US to Hong Kong where he led operations at hotels, restaurants and at casinos.

In 2018, he worked for Eldorado Resorts and the legacy Caesars Entertainment companies. Eldorado and Caesars merged about two years later in July 2020.

Not much mentioned about Harrah’s Philadelphia

The press release trumpeting Koster’s new role also heralds big plans for Caesar’s properties. However, it doesn’t mention upgrades to Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino in Chester, specifically.

Carano said:

“The next three years, particularly in Atlantic City, will be an exciting time for our Company. Our master capital plan will undoubtedly transform Atlantic City as a top destination market, and I am confident that under John’s leadership, our East Coast properties will be well-positioned for long-term success.”

Caesars plans $400 million in upgrades at their resorts.

Harrah’s closed poker room

PlayPennsylvania exclusively reported in late August 2020 that the live poker room at Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia closed permanently.

The 27-table room had extensive renovations in April 2019 to become a World Series of Poker-branded room. Caesars Entertainment owns the popular World Series of Poker brand. Now with a WSOP online poker room on its way to PA, there is no live room to accompany it.

New casino competition comes to Philadelphia area

The $700 million Live! Casino Philadelphia opened in February 2021. It is about 12 miles from Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia.

A number of employees from Harrah’s Casino Philadelphia got fired for attending new employee orientations at the new Live! Casino Philadelphia. The terminations surprised Harrah’s employees who said that employment at more than one casino is common.

Harrah’s and Caesars online casino in PA

In April 2021, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino ranked sixth out of the 14 PA casinos for slot revenue ($13.1 million). For table games revenue in April, Harrah’s also ranked sixth ($4.1 million).

Caesars PA online casino operates through its partnership with Harrah’s Philadelphia. The online casino launched in April 2020. Since then, Caesar’s has struggled to gain a sizable chunk of PA iGaming pie. In April, PA online casinos combined to rake in over $105 million in revenue. However, Caesar’s only posted $1.8 million.

Lead photo by Katie Kohler at Harrah’s reopening in summer 2020.

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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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