BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- The Belle of Baton Rouge Casino will be moving to land after the Gaming Control Board approved the $35 million plan Thursday.
“Well, today the board approved the resolution to allow the Belle of Baton Rouge to go land-based,” said Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns.
Johns said the Belle has been financially struggling, and this is what’s prompted the move.
“Of all the fifteen riverboat licenses of the state, they are the lowest producing right now,” said Johns.
Back in 2018, lawmakers approved legislation to allow old legacy river boats to go land-based. Now, the Belle of Baton Rouge has the green light.
“What we did is that we allowed them to move their operations into the old Atrium that’s downtown,” said Johns.
The hotel is now closed, but the business has committed to reopening this lodging. It features at least 90 rooms, three restaurants, a sports book, and an entertainment venue.
“About a $35 million commitment minimum right now that they are talking about, never know what inflation is going to do to that number,” said Johns.
Construction is expected to begin in the early spring of 2023 and be completed by the following year. The casino on the river will remain in operation as construction takes place.
“It’s going to be a great addition to downtown Baton Rouge,” said Johns.
He added that the move will add a minimum of 200 new jobs to Baton Rouge.