International edition
September 24, 2021

State law allows only 15 riverboat casino licenses

Pinnacle's Louisiana casino likely opening in late 2011

(US).- After nearly a year of delay because of the national freeze in credit markets, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.'s proposed riverboat casino in Baton Rouge has been put on a schedule that could see the games begin in late 2011.

W

ithout objection, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Tuesday approved a revised development schedule for the us$ 250 million plan after Pinnacle officials told regulators that financing would be available for the project.

Earlier this year, the company said it probably could sell bonds, but high interest rates would make the project financially prohibitive. But Carlos Ruisanchez, Pinnacle's executive vice president for strategic planning and development, said the company recently sold about us$ 450 million in bonds at just under 9 % to get money for its us$ 407 million Sugarcane Bay casino project in Lake Charles.

Ruisanchez also said the company successfully extended a major drawdown credit account that will provide funds for the Baton Rouge project. He said he expected the company would sell additional bonds in the future.

If the current schedule holds its timeline, both the riverboat and the site along the Mississippi River should be under construction in May. The Gaming Control Board will have to approve construction contracts for both.

Baton Rouge has two other riverboat casinos - the Belle of Baton Rouge and Hollywood Casino. Pinnacle is using one of the two licenses it obtained from Harrah's Entertainment in November 2006, after Harrah's decided not to reopen its two-boat complex in Lake Charles following destruction from Hurricane Rita.

The other license is being used for Sugarcane Bay. Pinnacle already has the successful L'Auberge Du Lac casino resort in Lake Charles which typically wins the most money among Louisiana's 13 riverboats. State law allows only 15 riverboat casino licenses.

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