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) --

Harrah's Entertainment

isn't betting on an IPO.

The casino operator nixed the initial public offering on Friday, citing market conditions. The IPO was set to price in the range of $15 and $17, which would have generated more than $500 million. Harrah's intended to change its name to Caesars Entertainment prior to the offering.

Proceeds from the IPO were expected to be used to develop a new retail and entertainment complex on the Las Vegas Strip, the completion of a hotel tower at Caesars Palace and a potential joint venture in Ohio.


John Paulson

, whose hedge fund acquired a 9.9% stake in Harrah's in exchange for $710 million in debt in June, may also sell his stake in a separate IPO.

Harrah's decision not to pursue its IPO comes just days after

General Motors

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

made a monumental return to Wall Street, becoming the second biggest IPO in history.

Harrah's was taken private in January 2008 in a $28 billion leveraged buyout by Apollo Global Management and TPG Capital, just as gambling in Las Vegas was taking a turn for the worse.

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The Las Vegas-based casino operator has a very similar profile to

MGM Resorts

(MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International Report

. Like MGM, Harrah's is laden with debt totaling nearly $20 billion. But this debt extends further than MGM's, into 2015. While Harrah's predominantly operates in Las Vegas, it's more diversified in other regional markets, like Louisiana and Indiana, than is MGM. In its third quarter, Harrah's reported a loss of $135 million.

Sentiment in Las Vegas, where Harrah's operated eight casinos, has improved somewhat, as revenue has trended upward over the last several months and casinos in the gambling hub have reported more upbeat trends in the third-quarter. Still, with Cosmopolitan opening in December and CityCenter having opened last year, competition isn't getting any easier.

This is making it especially difficult for some lower-tiered properties, making it harder to justify keeping their doors open. "Rates are so low at the luxury casinos, it's hard to justify keeping the lights on at some of the lower tiered," Sterne Agee analyst David Bain said in October.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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