Queen Baton Rouge Announces Opening Date for City’s First Land-Based Casino

Posted on: July 17, 2023, 10:57h. 

Last updated on: October 21, 2023, 02:25h.

The Queen Baton Rouge, formerly Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge, has announced an opening date for its new land-based casino complex.

Queen Baton Rouge Louisiana gaming revenue
The Queen Baton Rouge main entrance is seen under construction on June 15, 2023. Queen Baton Rouge is expected to welcome its first guests in August 2023. (Image: The New Orleans Advocate)

Louisiana lawmakers passed legislation in 2018 allowing the state’s riverboat casinos to move inland so long as the gaming floors remain within 1,200 feet (about a quarter of a mile) from their original barges.

The Queen Casino & Entertainment, an East St. Louis, Ill.-based gaming firm previously called CQ Holding Company, operates two casinos in Baton Rouge. The company and its landlord are investing more than $200 million to relocate Queen Baton Rouge and Bell of Baton Rouge gaming floors inland.

The company announced last week that its long-delayed renovation plan for Queen Baton Rouge is nearing completion.

Queen Casino & Entertainment began work on a $60 million expansion project of Hollywood in August 2021. Supply chain issues and rising construction costs because of inflation repeatedly halted construction, but nearly three years later, the work is almost finished. Costs, however, have escalated north of $100 million.

Queen Baton Rouge will open to the public at 9 pm local time on Aug. 24, casino officials said.

Queen Casino Details

Queen Baton Rouge will offer guests considerably more floor space than the former Hollywood riverboat. The property expands from 66,000 square feet on the riverboat to more than 100,000 square feet of gaming, dining, and entertainment space inside the land-based facility.

The brick-and-mortar casino will feature 731 slot machines and 18 table games. The casino will also feature a covered outdoor smoking patio with about 100 slots and six tables.

A state-of-the-art DraftKings Sportsbook with a 28-foot video wall is also included. The destination will offer three restaurants, including Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken, 3 Woks Noodle Bar, and Capital Coffee Baton Rouge. The property will also feature two entertainment venues called 1717 and The Loft at 1717 (the casino’s address is 1717 River Rd.)

We are thrilled to debut what will be an unmatched gaming and entertainment destination in Louisiana for sports wagering, gaming, entertainment, and dining,” said Terry Downey, president and CEO of The Queen Casino & Entertainment. “The Queen Baton Rouge ushers in a new era not just for this historic property, but for gaming and entertainment throughout the region, and we are thrilled to open our doors for our neighbors in the Baton Rouge community and the surrounding area.”

The new property will result in an additional 100 jobs, casino officials added. The Queen Casino & Entertainment will sell the riverboat dock to Viking River Cruises, which plans to utilize the dock for its Mississippi River operations.

Land Ahoy

The Queen Casino & Entertainment is also bringing its Belle of Baton Rouge casino ashore. It has help in financing that investment with the casino’s landlord, Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GPLI). The Belle is being brought inland through a separate $100 million undertaking.

Since GLPI owns the physical assets of the Belle and leases the resort’s operations to The Queen Casino & Entertainment, GLPI is bankrolling much of the investment. The Belle, unlike the Queen, also includes a hotel with 288 guestrooms. The move ashore will expand the casino space from 350 slots to 650 seats.

The Belle’s hotel has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $100 million overhaul will see the hotel rooms renovated and the casino moving from the boat to the property’s atrium.

Work is set to begin in October and is expected to take a year to complete. The Belle of Baton Rouge is expected to undergo a name change once the project is finished.