In Louisiana, casino and hotel company Caesars Entertainment Inc. (NASDAQ: CZR) has announced details of a plan to bring its shuttered Isle of Capri Lake Charles property in Calcasieu Parish ashore in fall 2022 as Horseshoe Casino Lake Charles.
The riverboat casino never re-opened after in late August last year it was heavily damaged during Hurricane Laura when it broke loose from its mooring and got stuck under the Interstate 10 bridge (pictured). And remember, the state‘s casino sector was already struggling before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, not to mention the year’s record-breaking hurricane season.
It was the first riverboat casino in the southeastern U.S. state to gain approval to move to dry land, when in December 2019 the Louisiana Gaming Control Board unanimously approved a plan from what was then, Eldorado Resorts Inc., to build a new $112.7 million casino to be located between the parking lot and hotel at the floating casino site in Westlake, which is about 4.5 miles from the City of Lake Charles.
According to the official press release, the expanded casino will have 60,000-plus square feet of gambling space, 15,000 square feet more than what the Isle has, along with nearly 1,000 slot machines and table games. The new land-based casino will also be home to a 10-table World Series of Poker (WSOP) card room and a Caesars-branded sportsbook.
Other property amenities are to include a redesigned 253-room hotel tower “inspired by local scenery” and new dining options including a Brew Brother Tap House.
The expansion, which is a bit scaled down from the earlier plan, will reportedly create in excess of 300 construction jobs.
Commitment to state:
Tom Reeg, Chief Executive Officer for Caesars Entertainment, said they are “are excited to return to operations in Lake Charles in fall 2022 with an all-new resort experience, introducing our iconic Horseshoe brand.”
The CEO noted that their “growing pledge” to the state of Louisiana and the region’s growth continues with the investment, and they are “proud to lead in the recovery of Lake Charles and its community.”
Reeg went on to explain that when Isle of Capri was shuttered “amid the COVID-19 panic,” they had no idea it wouldn’t reopen again for over two years.
“Between the pandemic and the destruction wrought by Hurricane Laura, the challenges our Team Members have faced are unparalleled,” said Jeff Favre, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Isle of Capri Lake Charles. “I’m thrilled to take this dynamic step forward toward getting our Team Members back to work serving our guests.”
In May 2020, Louisiana lost its first casino due to the pandemic, when DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City announced it was closing permanently “due to business circumstances caused by the unexpected impact of the coronavirus.” The property was owned and operated by Los Angeles-based holding company, Peninsula Pacific, and closed just days ahead of its 26th anniversary.
According to information compiled by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, as reported by Nola.com in a July 5, 2020, release, by that time, 4,000-plus casino employees across the state had either already lost, or were expected to lose their jobs, according