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Eldorado: Lake Charles riverboat may move ashore

November 23, 2018

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The owner of two Louisiana riverboat casinos says it may move one near Texas onto land, but probably will leave its Baton Rouge boat afloat.

Eldorado Resorts chairman and CEO Gary Carano said in a conference call this month that the company is considering moving the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, The Advocate reported . He said work could begin in the second half of 2019, with a land-based opening in 2020.

Such projects are likely to cost $75 million to $100 million and Eldorado was anticipating at least a 15 percent return on the investment, Carano said.

But he said it’s highly unlikely that Eldorado, based in Reno, Nevada, will move the Belle of Baton Rouge’s casino into the 80,000-square-foot (7432.2 square-meter) atrium next to the riverboat.

A law passed this year lets riverboat casinos move onshore.

The Belle’s former owners, Tropicana Entertainment, had talked about moving the casino into the atrium. When Eldorado’s plans to buy Tropicana were announced in April, Carano expressed interest in continuing plans to move the casino. The company has owned the Isle of Capri casinos since 2016.

The Baton Rouge market has been slumping since July 2017, while gamblers from Texas have helped boost the three Lake Charles riverboat casinos.

Carano said in April that moving into the atrium could significantly reduce moving costs.

But Louisiana’s chief gambling regulator said in August that the Louisiana Gambling Control Board wants new capital improvements to be part of any relocation.

“What the task force intended to do was not just move the slot machines onto land,” Ronnie Jones said told the Press Club of Baton Rouge in August. “This is about building new resorts with new amenities and gambling.”

Jones said at the time that three riverboats, including the Belle and the Treasure Chest in Kenner, were interested in moving onshore.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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