Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge Coming Ashore in 2022

Posted on: August 21, 2020, 10:55h. 

Last updated on: August 21, 2020, 11:34h.

Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (NASDAQ:GLPI) said Friday its Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La. will shed its riverboat status and become a land-based venue in early 2022.

Hollywood Casino In LA Heads To Land
Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge will head to land in early 2022. (Image: YouTube)

The Louisiana Gaming and Control Board (LGCB) approved the move. In 2018, Pelican State policymakers passed a bill that was later signed by Governor John Bel Edwards (D), allowing the state’s 15 riverboats to come onto land. The catch in that legislation is that gaming operations at the land-based venues must be conducted within 1,200 feet of the original docking site.

Pennsylvania-based GLPI, a real estate investment trust (REIT), said the effort to move Hollywood Casino to dry land will create 166 construction jobs, with a labor spend of $10 million.

The company expects to complete the $21 million-$25 million project in early 2022 and believes the change to a land facility will bring significant economic benefits to Downtown Baton Rouge,” according to a statement issued by the real estate firm.

GLPI owns the property assets of several other casinos in the fifth-largest US gaming market, including the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat, two Boomtown venues, and two gaming properties operating unde the L’Auberge brand.

Not the First

The Hollywood riverboat in the Pelican State capital isn’t the first venue of its type to win LGCB approval to come ashore.

Last December, the regulator body signed-off on the Isle of Capri riverboat casino, which docks in Westlake, La., coming to land. That venue is operated by the new Caesars Entertainment. The LGCB unanimously approved that request and at the time, Eldorado Resorts – now Caesars – said it could finish the project by May 2021.

Prior to LGCB approving the Isle of Capri move, it was speculated that operators of three Louisiana riverboat casinos wanted to move those venues to dry land. Those were the Belle of Baton Rouge, the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, and an unnamed venue. It’s not immediately clear if Hollywood Casino is that previously unidentified property.

The reason Pelican State operators are looking to drier pastures is simple: more gaming space. The aforementioned legislation that permits the river-to-land move also unwound an old law capping riverboat gaming space at 30,000 square feet. On land, companies can add more space, meaning more slot machines and table games and, potentially, more profits.

The Hollywood Casino currently has 29,000 square feet of gaming area, with 859 machines and 12 table games.

New Look

GLPI didn’t offer up specifics regarding what Hollywood’s gaming space will look like when the casino moves to land. The gaming REIT did note the new venue will include a chicken restaurant bearing the name of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal. The Hall of Famer played college ball at LSU in Baton Rogue.

The new Hollywood will also feature a sports bar/restaurant and entertainment venue with 250 seats and a sports viewing area, possibly indicating GLPI is positioning the property to capitalize on sports wagering. Voters in the state will consider a sports betting ballot initiative this November, and it’s widely expected to pass, setting the stage for legitimate wagers to be placed some time next year.