Hollywood Casino moving onto land, expanding with Shaq's 'Big Chicken' restaurant
BATON ROUGE - The riverfront will soon change as one of its riverboat casinos plans to move to a land-based venue by 2021.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board confirmed Friday that the Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge is taking advantage of a Louisiana law that allows casinos restricted to waterways to move onto dry land. It is one of the first casinos to announce it is jumping ship.
"We're simply going to transition what's on the vessel right now over onto the landside and then at the same time, make this building new and more exciting," Aaron Mollura said, Vice President of marketing at the Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge.
The $25 million renovations will make room for the slot machines and gaming tables from the paddle wheeler on the river.
Design work is expected to wrap up soon and the land-based operation could be ready within 18 months.
"Right now, the building is 25 years old and we're trying to bring some new life to it with this new renovation. Sports betting will definitely make a difference and that kind of thing is definitely going to make a big attraction here downtown," Mollura said.
It won't just be a drastic change for gamblers. The riverboat there now will be gone, making way for a new cruise line that plans to make frequent stops in Baton Rouge.
"That's going to definitely bring a lot more traffic, visitation from people outside of the state and quite a bunch of people from outside of the country as well," Mollura said.
The famed European cruise line is expected to begin cruising down the Mississippi River and docking in Baton Rouge in 2022. This will take place around the same time as the grand opening of the new land-based Hollywood Casino.
The casino will feature indoor and outdoor gaming, a sports entertainment area, and Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken Restaurant.
Shaq's eatery will combine his love of fried chicken, BBQ, and milkshakes.
The renovated venue project is expected to bring significant economic benefits to Downtown Baton Rouge, including 166 construction jobs in the process.