Golden Nugget Lake Charles First Tilman Fertitta Casino to Plan Reopening

Posted on: May 14, 2020, 10:56h. 

Last updated on: May 14, 2020, 11:29h.

Golden Nugget Lake Charles will reopen its casino floor on Monday, May 18. That’s after the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) issued rules and regulations to allow gaming spaces to resume operations in a limited capacity.

Golden Nugget casino Tilman Fertitta
Tilman Fertitta is ready to bring his 40,000 laid off employees back to work, and will begin doing so at the Golden Nugget Lake Charles this week. (Image: Click2Houston)

Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos and one land-based venue, Harrah’s New Orleans, have been shuttered since March 16. They are permitted to resume gaming operations on Monday, so long they adhere to various reopening orders from the LGCB.

Golden Nugget Lake Charlies will reopen its hotel tomorrow at 4 p.m. The resort will also open several restaurants, swimming pools, its beach, golf course, and lazy river.

We have anxiously awaited this reopening and look forward to welcoming the Lake Charles and surrounding communities back to our hotel and casino,” said billionaire Tilman Fertitta, owner of five Golden Nugget casinos. “This is a step in the right direction to getting our employees back to work.”

With being in operation for only 16 days in March, the riverboats reported total gross gaming revenue (GGR) of just $72 million. That was a 60 percent decline from March 2019, when the boats won $155.4 million.

Harrah’s New Orleans reported GGR of $10.46 million over the 16 days in March – a 64 percent year-over-year drop.

Golden Boy

Fertitta’s Lake Charles casino is the top casino in Louisiana. The Golden Nugget reported GGR of more than $154.5 million in 2019.

The L’Auberge riverboat in Lake Charles, owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, was next at $150.1 million. Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s New Orleans ranked third at $143.2 million. No other casino eclipsed the $100 million gaming revenue mark last year.

L’Auberge Lake Charles is joining Golden Nugget in reopening on Monday. Harrah’s New Orleans has yet to announce an opening date.

Fertitta has been critical at times of the nation’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. After furloughing some 40,000 workers across the country at his casinos and restaurants under his Landy’s hospitality and entertainment empire, the Texas businessman said at some point we need to get back to work.

“Otherwise, you are going to go into an economic crisis that is going to take us years to dig ourselves out of,” opined Fertitta, who also owns the NBA Houston Rockets.

Limited Operations

For the riverboats that do reopen on Monday, they’re permitted “no more than 25 percent of authorized occupancy in any gaming space.” That number includes employees.

No more than 25 percent of gaming devices and spaces/seats are to be occupied or in service. Social distancing guidelines from the CDC are to be enforced, including on the casino floor, lobbies, food and beverage establishments, and casino cage.

The LGCB is also encouraging casinos to implement additional safeguards in “the spirit of the CDC social distancing guidelines.” They include using plexiglass dividers approved by public health officials, but only if State Police sign off on them not interfering with established security and surveillance protocols.

All guests entering the casino will be handed a COVID-19 checklist of symptoms. Patrons will be asked to sanitize their hands prior to entering the gaming area.