Ever since L’Auberge Casino & Hotel opened in 2012, we’ve wondered if Baton Rouge could accommodate three casinos.
But while the Belle of Baton Rouge has been the state’s weakest revenue producer, new investment in the two downtown properties should end that speculation for the foreseeable future, says Ronnie Johns, who chairs the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
“We are going to reopen [Belle’s] hotel,” Johns told the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge today.
Hollywood will spend about $80 million to build land property near its current location in downtown Mississippi River, Johns said. On Thursday, the gaming commission will consider approving a similar move for Belle, which plans to spend at least $35 million on the redevelopment, he says.
Thursday’s agenda also includes Hollywood Casino sports betting license application review.
CQ Holding Company, which also owns two other casinos in other states, recently purchased both downtown properties.
In a conversation after his Rotary speech, Johns said he was confident the Baton Rouge market could continue to support all three casinos but would not have to add a fourth.
“As president, I would never support another license coming here,” he says. “I wouldn’t want to cannibalize this market.”
In July, Baton Rouge casinos took in nearly $23.8 million, with L’Auberge taking in about $16.3 million of that total, according to the most recent report at the game board. The market was down 15.7% from last July. Figures for August will be released on Thursday.