The state’s top gambling regulator has confirmed that three riverboat casinos are interested in expanding their operations on land, a new development made legal by legislation passed during the regular session.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones was about to talk about two of the casinos but stayed mute on the third.
“The Bell of Baton Rouge has already expressed an interest in it. One’s been publicly reported, the Treasure Chest in Kenner is trying to figure out what will be the best business model for them.”

The gaming control board estimates nearly 22,000 jobs are tied to the riverboat casino industry in the state.

Jones says legislation from the spring regular session is the biggest change in riverboat casino law in two decades and allows the “boats” to expand on to land within 1,200 feet of their current “dock”. Jones says that’s got many of the license holders excited and ready to make some substantial investments.

“There are a lot of properties looking at the economics of moving to land, but they know that it’s about building a new facility, not just moving the gaming into some existing building.”

The legislation also allows gaming houses to change the way they calculate how many machines and tables they can have, by shifting the measurements from square feet of gaming space to total gaming units.

But Jones cautioned that just because the laws have been relaxed, doesn’t mean that every property is gearing up to crawl out the water and climb onto land.

“You have this continuum of properties, Golden Nugget isn’t going to do anything in terms of moving that multi-million dollar property further onto land they are good where they are.”