Queen Baton Rouge, formerly Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge, Set to Open in August
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is preparing to welcome its first land-based casino, Queen Baton Rouge (rendering pictured).
The business was previously a riverboat casino known as Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge, and before that, Belle Rouge. It opened in 1994 and passed through various owners before current operators Queen Casino (QC) purchased it from Caesars Entertainment in 2020.
The new land-based chapter in this casino’s history is set to start next month, when the Queen Baton Rouge opens its doors to the public on August 24 at 9 p.m. It follows an $85 million renovation, relocation and expansion project.
“We are thrilled to debut what will be an unmatched gaming and entertainment destination in Louisiana for sports wagering, gaming, entertainment, and dining,” said Terry Downey, president and CEO of The Queen Casino & Entertainment.
Historic Property into New Era
Queen Casino Baton Rouge is operated by Casino Queen, with the land owned by Penn National Gaming’s Real Estate Investment Trust, Gaming and Leisure Properties.
QC bought operating rights to the casino for $28.2 million from Caesars Entertainment in 2020, as reported by local newspaper The Advocate.
QC also operates the nearby Belle of Baton Rouge, and Casino Queen Marquette in Iowa.
Construction on moving the Hollywood Baton Rouge casino inland and general redevelopment of the site began in earnest in 2021.
However, the project faced delays due to rising construction costs and the high levels of the Mississippi River. The casino’s proximity to the levee meant work could not proceed when the river exceeded a certain height.
As well as moving onshore, Queen Casino has expanded the Queen Baton Rouge from 62,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet.
The valet parking area has been converted into indoor space, adding more than 30,000 square feet to the casino’s atrium. The riverboat, which housed 750 slot machines and 18 table games, will be moved to the land-based location.
“The Queen Baton Rouge ushers in a new era, not just for this historic property, but for gaming and entertainment throughout the region, and we are thrilled to open our doors for our neighbors in the Baton Rouge community and the surrounding area,” Downey said.
Amenities and Future Plans
As well as the previous 750-plus slots and table games, the upgraded Queen Baton Rouge will feature a DraftKings sportsbook and dedicated smoking patio with about 100 slot machines. Outside of gambling, guests will find five restaurants and entertainment venues, including Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken, a noodle bar, and a coffee house.
The expansion will create about 100 new jobs, with 20 people already employed following recent hiring events.
The riverboat that previously housed the casino’s slot machines and table games will be sold to Viking River Cruises and used for Mississippi River voyages, potentially regularly bringing about 600 passengers downtown.
The Queen Casino & Entertainment has further plans to invest $100 million in renovating the nearby Belle of Baton Rouge, with renovations expected to be completed by October 2024.
QC isn’t the only operator looking at moving historic U.S. riverboat casinos inland as gambling laws are relaxed across the country.
Two Hollywood Casino branded riverboat gambling venues in Illinois are also seeking approval for inland licenses. The Hollywood Casinos Aurora and Juliet, both still owned by Penn Entertainment, are all set for rebuilds costing a combined $540 million. Both projects were given the go-ahead by Illinois regulators earlier this year.