The Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge broke ground on Tuesday, August 10 on its project to move the riverboat operation onto dry land, becoming the first in Baton Rouge to take advantage of a 2018 law allowing Louisiana’s riverboat casinos to carry out these relocations.
The project, which has a starting budget of $60 million, will feature slots, sports wagering and include new restaurants, with all offerings on a single floor in contrast with the three stories tall riverboat casino, reports WBRZ.
The parking lot located right next to the existing Hollywood Casino will be turned into a land-based gaming and entertainment complex which will occupy 100,000 square feet of land; and the single-level casino floor alone will spread over 27,000 square feet.
“This is going to benefit the city of Baton Rouge tremendously. It’ll benefit the state of Louisiana as far as increase revenue from the tax base. So, more employment. We’re excited,” said Ronnie Johns, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, during the groundbreaking ceremony.
Aaron Mollura, Vice President of marketing at the Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, said there are plans to include a “big sports bar”, which would be Shaquille O’Neal Big Chicken Restaurant, due to growing “guest demands”.
Other expected business developments include a sports viewing area and a sportsbook once Louisiana launches its market. Louisiana was one of several states to approve sports betting in 2020, but it still remains unknown when this type of gambling will launch, with a likely date happening before the Super Bowl next year.
Construction is estimated to wrap up in about a year following the ground breaking, and new jobs are expected to be available counting not only during the construction of the casino but also for the general activities once renovations are complete. The number of staff members could rise from 300 to approximately 500, and an additional 160 for the construction.
The Hollywood Casino is the second project to relocate onto dry land in the state, following behind the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, but the first one to take advantage of the legislation in the state of Louisiana and the first in Baton Rouge to move inland. When casinos were first allowed in Louisiana, the law only allowed for one to be on land, the Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans, while the others had to be on the water.
Peter Carlino, CEO and chairman of property owner Gaming and Leisure Properties, said: “This will have a profound impact on the success of this business. We think this is the most convenient location in town.”