Queen of Baton Rouge Reports Strong Opening, as Gaming Revenue Nearly Doubles

Posted on: October 21, 2023, 03:22h. 

Last updated on: October 23, 2023, 09:44h.

The Queen of Baton Rouge enjoyed a strong first full month in operation, as the former Hollywood riverboat nearly doubled its gaming win in September 2023.

Queen Baton Rouge Louisiana gaming revenue
The Queen of Baton Rouge experienced a surge in gaming revenue during its first full month in operation as a land-based casino. The property was formerly Hollywood, a Louisiana riverboat casino. (Image: Visit Baton Rouge)

The Queen opened its new 100,000-square-foot land-based casino with more than 700 slot machines, 18 table games, and a DraftKings Sportsbook on Aug. 24. Data released by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) shows that the brick-and-mortar casino won about $7.3 million from gamblers last month — an 85% year-over-year surge from the $3.9 million that the then-boat won in September 2022.

The casino, owned and operated by Illinois-based CQ Holding Company, acquired the former riverboat in 2021 from Penn Entertainment for $28.2 million. The company then spent $85 million to move the gaming floor inland and overhaul the property’s restaurant offerings.

The Queen’s culinary offerings now include 1717, an American restaurant, the 3 Woks Noodle Bar, and Shaq’s Big Chicken.

While The Queen experienced strong gaming revenue gains in September, with the $7.3 million won also a 90% jump on August when the boat and new casino won about $3.8 million, Baton Rouge’s two other casinos saw revenue slide. The L’Auberge Casino Hotel generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $12.5 million — 5% below its September 2022 win of $13.2 million — while the Belle of Baton Rouge saw its GGR tumble 21% to just $890,800.

Inland Moves

CQ also owns and operates the Belle of Baton Rouge and plans to relocate that riverboat inland. Unlike its Queen, CQ’s Belle of Baton Rouge includes a hotel.

CQ officials said in April that their $100 million investment at the Belle will move the casino from the riverboat to the property’s atrium, pending state approvals. The resort’s 250 hotel rooms will also be renovated.

Work is set to begin later this month and be completed sometime in the fall of 2024. In addition to its two downtown Baton Rouge casinos, CQ owns and operates the DraftKings at Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Il., and Casino Queen Marquette in Iowa.

In 2018, Louisiana lawmakers agreed to end the state’s requirement that gaming only occurs above water. The amendment allows state-licensed casinos to petition the LGCB for permission to move their gaming inland, so long as the new brick-and-mortar casino space remains within 1,200 feet of the original riverboat.

Louisiana Gaming Gains

As for the rest of the Louisiana gaming industry, the state’s 12 other riverboats saw revenue drop year-over-year.

The three casinos in Lake Charles — Golden Nugget, L’Auberge, and Horseshoe — combined to win $62.2 million, a 4.4% decline from September 2022. The five boats in Shreveport/Bossier won $41.2 million, a 0.6% loss.

The three riverboats in New Orleans saw GGR contract 3% to $18.9 million. Harrah’s New Orleans, a land-based casino, fared even worse, as casino wins tumbled almost 10% to $20.7 million.

In the coming years, the Shreveport/Bossier market will return to a six-casino market after The Cordish Companies gained licensing approval from the LGCB to acquire the shuttered Diamond Jacks property. Cordish plans a $270 million investment to overhaul the distressed resort and create a new land-based casino.