Could the Belle of Baton Rouge move to land?

Belle of Baton Rouge could be moving casino operations onto land

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Analysts from Eldorado Resorts, the Belle of Baton Rouge’s new parent company, will visit their Baton Rouge property this month to consider new investment options and gaming facility upgrades, according to the casino’s new manager Jim Rigot.

These options could include bringing the casino onshore or converting the gambling space into one floor. The analysts will make a recommendation to the Eldorado board of directors, which could approve a potential expansion or renovation.

Downtown Development District (DDD) director Davis Rhorer said Eldorado could choose to renovate the existing atrium connected to the hotel that currently serves as a common area for hotel guests.

“It’s kind of a perfect infrastructure fit for something like a land-side casino,” Rhorer said. “If we can show them the stability and the predictability of downtown, they’ll see this is a good investment.”

A new Louisiana law allows the state’s 15 riverboat casinos to move onshore under certain circumstances after they gain approval from the Gaming Control Board. Chairman Ronnie Jones said the board wants casinos to make detailed presentations focused on economic development.

“The only reason we have gaming in Louisiana is to promote economic development,” Jones said. “One of the ways you do that is to offer something other than gambling.”

Jones said Las Vegas casinos bring in more revenue from non-gaming activities than from gaming. Jones said he is encouraging casinos to consider investing in space for restaurants, bars, and luxury retail.

“It’s one more piece to improving downtown Baton Rouge,” Jones said. “If you invest in that property and create a reason for people to come down to the Belle of baton Rouge in a new facility, it’s going to be better for the economy.”

“That’s the kind of thing that creates jobs,” Jones continued. “Jobs on the front end, in terms of construction, and jobs hopefully on the back end if the properties build new amenities.”

Rigot told the DDD board he’s excited about the possibility of bringing in restaurants and adding other amenities that could create a better nightlife experience.

The Belle was part of a $1.85 billion acquisition of Tropicana Entertainment by Eldorado Resorts.

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