Gaming and Leisure Says Baton Rouge Riverboat Will Be Casino Rouge Upon Coming Ashore

Posted on: December 13, 2020, 06:20h. 

Last updated on: December 13, 2020, 06:47h.

Gaming and Leisure Properties (GLPI) is planning to rename its Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La. when the riverboat gaming venue comes ashore in early 2022.

Hollywood Casino
The Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La. It will be renamed Casino Rouge next year. (Image: The Advocate)

If approved, the gaming real estate investment trust (REIT) will shed the Hollywood name in favor of Casino Rouge. The company is slated to inform the Baton Rouge Planning Commission of the plan at a meeting on Monday, Dec. 14.

In August, GLPI won approval to bring to the riverboat onto dry land, becoming the second Pelican State casino granted that move. A law was signed in 2018 allowing the state’s 15 riverboats to come onto land, with the requirement that the venues be located within 1,200 feet of the original docking slip.

GLPI, which counts Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming among its biggest tenants, typically acts as landlord of gaming venues, owning real estate, collecting the rent, and leaving day-to-day businesses to operators. However, the REIT does own and operate a small number number of casinos, one of which is the Hollywood, in the Louisiana capitol.

In addition to the Hollywood, GLPI owns the real estate of five other Pelican State gaming properties — the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat, two Boomtown venues, and a pair of L’Auberge casinos.

Big Plans in Baton Rouge

Just bringing the Hollywood to land will cost $10 million and create nearly 170 jobs, GLPI said in August. To get the eventual Casino Rouge operational by early 2022 will cost a total of $21 million to $25 million.

Pending approval, the casino will expand its footprint on River Road to more than 100,000 square feet, adding an entertainment venue with 250 seats, a sports bar, and a mezzanine overlooking the Mississippi River,” according to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.

Nearly 860 slot machines and 12 table games will move from the riverboat to the new gaming area. Buffets currently housed on the second floor will be scrapped in favor of business and event space.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many gaming operators are struggling with the buffet concept, and some regional casino companies outright eliminated the amenity, realizing higher margins as a result.

Other New Offerings

The Casino Rouge will also feature a 250-seat entertainment venue and a Shaquille O’Neal Big Chicken Restaurant.

There are also plans for a sports bar that will abut the entertainment area and which could eventually serve as a sportsbook. Louisiana voters signed off on sports wagering last month, and that proposal was approved on a parish-by-parish basis.

East Baton Rouge Parish, where Hollywood is located and where Casino Rouge will remain, was one of the parishes voting in favor of that ballot initiative. It’s expected sports betting will be live in the state at some point in 2022.