Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | 10:59 a.m.
Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has donated $1 million to the USO to maintain programs and services that benefit troops and their families worldwide.
The United Service Organizations was founded more than 60 years ago to provide recreational activities for military personnel and their families. The nonprofit is not part of the Defense Department and depends on donations and volunteers.
About $600,000 will be used to purchase mobile canteens for troops in Nevada, Arizona and California as well as the Midwest, Harrah's said Monday. The remainder will be used to refurbish select USO centers through a grant program. Under an agreement, centers will be required to submit proposals to the USO defining their needs and outlining a budget for repairs.
Nevada doesn't have any USO centers. The mobile canteens will be used at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas, which has been a staging ground for USO entertainment tours for troops stationed abroad, and can be easily moved to other nearby locations where troops are located, USO spokesman John Hanson said.
The mobile canteens -- which can be built for half the price of permanent centers -- will feature Internet service, televisions and food service and "provide a break" for troops, he said.
"Today Harrah's Entertainment and Caesars Entertainment became one company and we can think of no better way to celebrate this historic merger than by supporting the men and women who have given so much in defense of our nation," Harrah's Chief Executive Gary Loveman said in a statement.
Responding to questions posed by Nevada regulators Friday, Harrah's officials promised that the company would donate at least as much to charity after the merger as each company had given separately.