Venerable Louisiana riverboat casino to move ashore in Baton Rouge

Home » Venerable Louisiana riverboat casino to move ashore in Baton Rouge

Belle of Baton Rouge, 30-year-old sister ship to Queen Casino in Baton Rouge, is slated for replacement. Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI) on Monday announced its intent to invest $111 million in creating a land-based casino replacement and moving the Belle’s operations ashore. A September 2025 completion date is envisioned.

The entire cost for replacing Belle of Baton Rouge is expected to exceed $141 million. The project will entail building an onshore casino and renovating the adjoining hotel.

Belle of Baton Rouge made headlines during its ownership by Caesars Entertainment, when CEO Tom Reeg balked at staying overnight due to the condition of the property. Caesars sold the casino to CQ Holdings in December 2020. The property was flipped to GLPI two years later.

Previously, tenant Queen Casino & Entertainment had incepted land-based gaming at Queen Casino itself. Revenues quickly spiked, while Belle of Baton Rouge’s declined. It grossed $600,000 in April of this year, the lowest casino tally in Louisiana.

Said Queen Casino & Entertainment CEO Terry Downey, “We are extremely pleased with the Queen’s performance since its grand reopening in August 2023, thanks in large part to GLPI’s partnership. Their depth of expertise and project management through the entire process have enabled us to exceed our financial, operational, and customer focused goals at the Queen.

“As we now turn our attention to The Belle,” Downey continued, “we look forward to realizing similar operational upside from this latest move landside. In particular, the proven success at the Queen and the synergies made possible by our operating model between the Queen and The Belle set the stage for success. We appreciate GLPI’s continued partnership in the growth of our business and look forward to providing our players with another fully refreshed casino destination.”

Responded GLPI CEO Peter Carlino, “Queen Casino & Entertainment has proven its ability to leverage a fresh, new product to grow the overall gaming market and we expect this project to follow a similar path. We remain active in our efforts to expand our portfolio in the current environment and believe that transactions such as this further our reputation as the gaming landlord of choice.”

The Belle will remain in operation until it’s time for the gaming equipment to come ashore. As lessee, Queen Casino & Entertainment, a subsidiary of Standard General, will pay GLPI nine percent incremental rental yield on the funding, of which disbursements began last Thursday. The new casino will fall under a master lease that also secures Queen Casino, DraftKings Casino Queen in East St. Louis, and Casino Queen Marquette in Iowa.

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