Treasure Chest has announced the grand opening of its new land-based casino at the end of Williams Boulevard near Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner, Louisiana, set for Thursday, June 6. This event marks the closure of its long-standing riverboat casino, which will cease operations at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 1.

The newly constructed land-based casino boasts a 48,000-square-foot gaming area, which is double the size of the original riverboat facility. Additionally, the new venue includes over 8,000 square feet of convention space and four new dining options. The entire project was completed at a cost of approximately $100 million.

Boyd Gaming Corporation, a Nevada-based company, owns the Treasure Chest, which originally opened in 1994 on a replica riverboat located on Lake Pontchartrain. At its inception, the riverboat casino featured just one restaurant and lacked any convention space.

The new land-based casino is anticipated to provide a significant economic boost to Kenner. “We anticipate this to be a catalyst for a surge in economic development, increasing sales tax, and increased riverboat fees, upon which Kenner heavily depends,” stated Mayor Michael Glaser in his recent budget proposal.

Kenner officials are also considering additional redevelopment projects for the Laketown area. In April, Jefferson Parish 4th District Council member Arita Bohannan revealed plans for a new outdoor amphitheater with seating for 7,500, a boardwalk, and an observation point on the western edge of Laketown.

A ceremonial “last bets” event will be held at 11:59 p.m. on June 1 at the riverboat casino, featuring a second line and banner drop, according to The doors to the new casino, located at 4540 Williams Boulevard, will officially open at 8 a.m. on June 6.

Riverboat Casinos Moving On Shore

Since its opening in 1994, the riverboat casino has been an important revenue source for Kenner despite having only one restaurant and no flexible event space. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023, Treasure Chest reported net gambling proceeds of $9.7 million, reflecting an 11.6% increase from the previous year. This figure positioned it eighth among Louisiana’s 13 floating casinos operating in fiscal 2022. However, neither Treasure Chest nor other casinos in the state have fully recovered to pre-pandemic business levels, according to Gaming Control Board reports.

Casino gambling was legalized in Louisiana in 1991, initially limiting paddlewheel casinos to 15. These riverboats were originally required to sail regularly, a mandate that was removed by the Legislature in 2001. In 2018, lawmakers approved Senate Bill 316, signed by then-Governor John Bell Edwards on May 23, which permitted riverboat casinos to move up to 1,200 feet onto land from their designated berth space.

The Horseshoe in Westlake was the first to transition to land in December, followed by the expected move of the Hollywood in Baton Rouge this fall. The Treasure Chest will be the third, with others, such as the Belle in Baton Rouge and Diamond Jacks in Bossier City, also planning to go ashore.

This shift in the gambling landscape in Louisiana represents a significant change, bringing enhanced facilities and potentially increased revenue for the regions involved. The new land-based Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner is poised to be a central part of this evolution, promising improved amenities and economic benefits for the local community.