Louisiana’s First Sportsbook Has Finally Gone Live!

State Of Louisiana Seal And Paragon Casino Sports Betting

Back in November of 2020, residents in Louisiana unanimously voted to legalize and regulate sports betting. Since that time, however, officials have been working to come up with specific regulations for this new form of gambling. This week, Louisiana’s first sportsbook finally went live.

Millions have been eagerly waiting for sports betting options to become available here. Many more sportsbooks are expected to launch in Louisiana in the coming months.

Here’s a quick look at what is now available here.

Paragon Casino Welcomes Louisiana’s First Sportsbook

Louisiana is home to a massive casino industry. Both tribal and commercial casinos have been able to operate here for many years. The owners of these gambling venues have been eagerly awaiting permission to launch a brand new sportsbook.

On Wednesday, Louisiana’s first sportsbook officially went live in the Paragon Casino. This property, located in Marksville, has a massive fan base throughout the state. It has officially welcomed “The Draft Room,” and is being run in partnership with Betfred Sports. Marshall Pierite, chairman of the tribe that owns Paragon Casino, recently spoke to the media about the launch of this sportsbook.

“As a native Louisianan and Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, I am thrilled to help usher in sports betting to our state,” Pierite said. 

Most of Lousiana’s other casinos are now preparing to launch their own sportsbooks. First, however, these properties need to gain permission from the Louisiana Lottery.

Paragon Casinos is currently only allowing land-based sports betting. Officials within the casino claim that mobile betting options will be launching in the near future. The Louisiana Lottery claims it will likely be January before online sports betting options go live in the state.

Other states continue working to launch their first sportsbooks. Here’s a look at the process some of these different states are going through.

More States Reveal Delay Launching Their First Sportsbooks

PASPA’s removal changed the US gambling industry forever. More than half the United States now has a legal sports betting industry set in place. Several states have approved sports betting bills, yet have not launched any regulated sportsbooks.

Florida is one of those states. Governor DeSantis approved a set of compacts earlier this year that would allow the Seminole Tribe to launch both land-based and online sports betting. Unfortunately, several companies have filed lawsuits against the state’s sports betting plans.

Several pari-mutuel companies are now arguing that allowing the Seminole Tribe to launch online sportsbooks goes against the state constitution. This legal dispute has been going on for months. Seminole leaders are hopeful that things are resolved within the next few weeks.

Nebraska residents approved a measure to legalize sports gambling late last year. This state has yet to narrow down the regulations for this form of gambling, though. It still seems possible for the first sportsbooks in Nebraska to launch before the end of 2021, though.

It may not be long before the entire country has a regulated sports betting industry set in place. Stay tuned for updates!

How is the Casino Industry in Louisiana Faring Right Now?

There are a huge number of popular gambling venues based in Louisiana right now. Some of these are riverboat casinos based off the coast. Several popular land-based casinos are also based here and help to bring the state a large amount of tax revenue each year.

The casinos here have faced some major issues over the past nine months. Several hurricanes have struck Louisiana this year. These storms have forced casino closures and resulted in large revenue drops on several occasions.

Things seem to be going well for Louisiana’s casinos in recent weeks. The launch of Louisiana’s first sportsbooks will certainly help. A huge number of people will soon begin flocking into the state’s various casinos that finally launch their first sportsbooks.

Louisiana is now home to the largest gambling industry in the Southern US. It may eventually face competition from nearby states such as Mississippi and perhaps even Texas.

Are you excited to see Louisiana’s first sportsbook go live? How do you think the state’s sports betting industry will fare moving forward? Let us know in the comments section below!

Here’s What We Know About Harrah’s New Orleans Vaccine Rule

Harrah's Logo

Casinos around the United States remain between a rock and a hard place. These properties are working hard to boost revenue while still remaining as safe as possible for patrons and employees. Today, we’ll talk about Harrah’s New Orleans vaccine rule recently set in place.

Harrah’s is taking a major risk with this new rule. Some feel it could end up backfiring for one of the most popular gambling venues in Louisiana.

Let’s take a look at what is happening here.

Casino Companies Face More Pressure to Increase Restrictions

The past eight months have been good ones for most casino operators in the country. As Covid-19 infection rates dropped, tourism to major gambling hubs began to increase. Many of the smaller casino destinations around the US have experienced a major boost in their visitation rates, as well.

In recent weeks, a rise in infection rates has once again led to fears for these casino companies. States are beginning to order new rules for various businesses. In some states, casinos are already being ordered to implement new restrictions.

Las Vegas was one of the first major casino destinations to reopen after the shutdowns in 2020. Of course, the casinos here looked considerably different than they did prior to shutting down. Plexiglass barriers separated players at the tables. Slot machines were spread apart. Masks were required at all times for patrons and employees.

Most of these restrictions were removed months ago. Recently, however, Nevada once again ordered that masks be worn by everyone while on the casino floor. Some fear this could ultimately lead to a dip in tourism.

Casinos in Nevada once again managed to bring in more than $1 billion in revenue over the month of June. Revenue reports for July will soon be released. Many are curious to see whether or not the mask rule has any impact.

Las Vegas is far from the only city looking more into casino restrictions. We’re now beginning to hear one major new rule set in place at the popular Harrah’s New Orleans casino.

Will Harrah’s New Orleans Vaccine Rule Backfire?

New Orleans is home to many popular gambling venues. These properties have been posting solid revenue numbers over the last few months. The recent spike in Covid-19 cases now appears to be concerning many of the casino operators in this city.

Harrah’s New Orleans opened its doors to the public in 1999. It has grown to become one of the best and most popular casinos in the city. News broke over the weekend that this casino was becoming the first in the United States to require either proof of vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test to enter.

Harrah’s New Orleans vaccine rule was likely set in place by Mayor Cantrell’s announcement that a vaccine or a negative PCR test would be required for most indoor activities. That includes anything the state decides is a “high transmission risk.” It could end up having a negative impact on the casino’s revenue.

Many individuals throughout Louisiana and neighboring states have yet to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. A significant number of these individuals will likely be unwilling to get a PCR test in order to play inside a casino.

It’s unclear if other casinos in Louisiana will be forced to order these measures. As of now, only Harrah’s is choosing to order these entry requirements. That could change over the next few weeks and months if cases continue to increase.

New reports indicate some of the casinos in Las Vegas could soon order mandatory vaccine or PCR tests to enter. Here’s a quick look at when and where these rules could be set in place.

Is a Vaccine Mandate Coming to Las Vegas Casinos Anytime Soon?

The world remains in uncharted waters with regard to the current pandemic. That is particularly true with the rise of new, more transmissible variants circulating. The Delta variant has been steadily causing more infections in the United States, leading to more health restrictions set in place in many states.

Harrah’s New Orleans vaccine rule may become more common in many other casinos around the country. That includes some of the ones in Las Vegas. There is reason to suspect that some type of entry requirement could make its way to Sin City casinos in the future.

Several venues in Las Vegas already require either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test. That includes AEG’s properties, the Smith Center, and Life is Beautiful. It’s becoming a common theme and one that could take a serious toll on the tourism industry here.

Don’t expect to see a full vaccine mandate coming to all of the casinos in Las Vegas. If anything, only certain properties will choose to take this step.

For now, there is reason to be optimistic. US casino revenue remains at its highest level in history. Based on the current trend, 2021 will be the most successful year in history for the country’s gambling industry.

What do you think of Harrah’s New Orleans vaccine rule? Will this hurt its revenue numbers moving forward? Let us know in the comments section below!

Governor John Bel Edwards Signs Louisiana Sports Betting Bill

Lousiana State Seal With Casino Background
Legal Sports betting is on its way to Louisiana after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bills 247 and 142 on Tuesday.

With both bills signed, all elements are now in order for Louisiana’s casinos to apply for legal sports betting licenses, build their own retail sportsbooks, and line up their partners to handle online and mobile sports betting.

Earlier this month, the Governor already signed House Bill 697 which set up the taxes and fees for legal Louisiana sports betting. 

Said Senate President Page Cortez:

“SB247 fulfills the wishes of the citizens in the 55 parishes that approved the referendum last fall to allow sports wagering and SB142 will help direct funding derived from this activity to early childhood education.” 

The only state in the Region With Online Option

Once launched, Louisiana will be the only state in the region to have an online and mobile sports betting option. Casinos in the bordering states of Arkansas and Mississippi allow only face-to-face sports bets made at retail sports betting shops. Meanwhile, Texas neither has casinos of legal sports betting.

The online option was added to the Louisiana legislation after Cortez noted before the legislative session began last April that sports betting would raise significant income if bets were allowed online or using mobile devices. The Senate President cited an AP report that 85% of the total sports bets placed nationwide during the first two months of the year were via mobile or online option.

Tax Rates are Set

Louisiana’s current gaming license holders, including riverboat casinos and racinos, will be required to pay a $250,000 fee to apply for a sports betting license plus another $500,000 after the approval of an initial five-year license.

Each of the present 20 gaming license holders in the state will be allowed two skins for mobile betting. Online sports betting will be levied a 15% tax on net revenue while bets placed at brick and mortar sportsbooks will be required to pay a 10% tax to the state.

Targeting the Football Season

With the Governor’s signature in place, legislators are targeting the start of the football season for the Louisiana sports betting launch. The National Football League’s preseason begins on August 5th and the regular season start on September 9th. Louisiana is the home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.

Aside from the Saints, Louisiana has other prominent sports teams like the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and the NCAA’s Louisiana State University which has popular programs in both basketball and football. It is also home to the New Orleans Gold of the National Rugby League.

 

Louisiana House Approves Sports Betting Bill

Louisiana State Seal With a Casino and Historic Background

Sports bettors in Louisiana are one step closer to start wagering on sports event if Gov. John Bel Edwards approves the second of two bills that are about to clear the state legislature.

Senate Bill 247 passed the Louisiana House by a vote of 78 to 15 on Thursday night. However, the bill, which sets up the protocols and oversight for Louisiana sports betting, has been sent back to the Senate for last-minute amendments by its Senate sponsors. It will need to return to the Upper chamber to concur with the changes.

The other bill, House Bill 697, which sets up the taxes and fees for Louisiana sports betting, already passed last week and is already on the desk of Gov. Edwards for his signature.

Approved by Two-Thirds of Voters

Voters in 55 out of the state’s total 64 parishes, with nearly two-thirds of the voters statewide approving, chose to participate. But before Louisiana residents can actually place a sports bet in the state, legislators need to pass a law that will set up how things will be done. That’s what SB 247 and HB 697 are here for.

Under the two bills, bettors can place a wager on sporting events on their smart phones, in casinos, or at kiosks in bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic drinks. Should the Governor sign both bills, which is expected, the Gaming Control Board must come up with the rules and regulations and start accepting applications for Louisiana sports betting licenses.

20 Licenses to Be Issued

A total of 20 licenses will be issued, 15 to the casinos and the other 5 to the existing racinos in the state. Each license is allowed to have two skins. Convenience stores won’t be allowed to put up a sports betting kiosk however, retail establishments with a Class A license where alcohol can be sold, can apply for a Louisiana sports betting license.

Local retail establishments which will put up a retail sports betting outlet will be levied a tax rate of 10% on gross revenues. Meanwhile, operators who wish to put up mobile platforms will be charged a 15% tax on their gross revenues.

$325M Renovation To Transform Harrah’s To Caesars New Orleans

Poker Chip and Roulette and Casino Card Background

The iconic Harrah’s star will be replaced by Caesars’ golden laurel in 2024.

In an announcement last Tuesday, Caesars Entertainment revealed a $325M renovation and expansion that will transform Harrah’s New Orleans to Caesars New Orleans by 2024. The renovation was agreed upon last year as part of the company’s deal with the Louisiana Legislature to extend Caesars’ license to operate the casino until 2054. However, as part of the approval process, it still needs to go through the New Orleans Building Corporation.

Said Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg:

“We are excited to introduce Caesars New Orleans to the city. As the only land-based gaming operator in the city, we take great pride in our 20-year history in New Orleans, and this reinvestment is a testament to our continued commitment.”

Preliminary Plans

According to Caesars Entertainment, they will add an all-new 340-room hotel tower to the property. Aside from the hotel tower, Harrah’s will get a new carport or “valet porte cochere” at its existing entrance at the intersection of Canal Street and Convention Center Boulevard. New culinary and hospitality offerings will also be introduced within the New Orleans casino. There will also be additional developments in the unoccupied second floor of the New Orleans casino which will be announced later. Per Harrah’s GM Samir Mowad:

“What was shared today is only the beginning of a transformation.”

Caesars Entertainment also said that it wants to offer additional entertainment options aside from gambling at the site. Harrah’s had a 2,200 capacity music venue called Fillmore New Orleans but that venue has been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Second Major Project

Caesars’ venture is the second major hospitality-related project to the end of Canal Street. Directly towards the street towards the Mississippi River is the $530M conversion of the former World Trade Center to the upscale Four Seasons hotel and condominium complex which is near its completion. The Las Vegas-based casino group said that the New Orleans project will create 600 jobs during its construction phase and it will employ around 500 full-time jobs once the project is completed in 2024, when its 30-year license renewal begins.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell expressed her excitement over the project:

“We are excited that this expansion will mean hundreds of construction jobs during the project and hundreds more in sustainable and new jobs post-construction. The addition of Caesars New Orleans will strengthen our city’s position as the top cultural and entertainment destination city in the nation.”

The merger between Caesars and Eldorado Resorts last July formed the largest gambling group in the United States. The $17.3B takeover process took a year and it included an order from Federal regulators to the merged company to sell several of its casino properties including the Eldorado Casino Resort in Shreveport.

More of Louisiana’s Casinos Are Being Sold

Louisiana has one of the largest casino industries in the Southern United States. Unfortunately, this industry has been heavily affected by regulations set in place over the past six months. News is now coming out that more of Louisiana’s casinos are being sold.Caesars Entertainment

It’s a very unusual time for major US casino companies. Many are now looking at new ways to save money and generate revenue. Today, we’re going to look at which casino has just been sold in Louisiana.

Let’s get into it!

Casino Revenue Continues to Fluctuate Around the US

It’s been almost six months since casinos around the United States were forced to shut down. Back in March, many casino analysts predicted that things would be back to normal by now. That has not turned out to be the case.

Most states have begun allowing their casinos to open. That includes Nevada and New Jersey, two of the largest gaming destinations in the country. Even New York, which has been extremely slow getting its casino industry back on track, is allowing commercial casinos to open this week.

Revenue is still fluctuating around the country. In Las Vegas, land-based casino revenue is still significantly lower than it was last year. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon, as tourism rates remain low.

Atlantic City has seen a major drop in casino earnings, as well. Casinos in this city have been able to make up for some of these losses from their online casino gaming operations. Many now feel it’s time for Nevada to legalize internet casino gambling.

Online gambling has been growing more popular every single month. A report from the American Gaming Association surfaced last month that shows revenue from this industry has already increased by 300% this year. That will likely increase as the year drags on.

Casino companies are now taking new measures to increase their revenue flow.

Expect More of Louisiana’s Casinos to be Sold Over the Next Few Months

We’ve seen a large number of casino sales over the past couple of years. Many came from Caesars Entertainment, which recently merged with Eldorado Resorts. In order for this merger to come together, Caesars was forced to relinquish many of its properties around the country.

It appears Caesars is not finished with its casino sales. This week, news broke that the major casino operator plans to sell Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino this year. It comes less than four months after the property reopened.

Caesars owns the property with VICI Properties, which has also greenlit the sale. Under the current terms, Caesars will receive $16.5 million of the proceeds. VICI will claim the remaining $5.5 million.

Several analysts believe that more of Louisiana’s casinos will be sold in the coming months. The state’s gaming industry has been hit hard this year and it’s unclear when or if things will recover. Some of the casinos in this state suffered damage from Hurricane Laura late last month, as well.

Thousands of jobs are also at risk. A huge number of casinos have been forced to lay off employees this year. More than 15,000 individuals are employed in Louisiana’s casino industry and it’s unclear how many of these jobs will remain in place over the next six months.

We’ll offer more updates on Caesars’ most recent casino sale over the next few weeks.

Sports Betting Could Help Bring Louisiana Much-Needed Revenue

Since mid-2018, every state around the country has been able to set its own laws and regulations on sports betting. 24 states have approved bills to legalize this form of gambling. Many more have bills pending to do the same.

Louisiana seems on the brink of legalizing and regulating its sports betting industry. Lawmakers approved a new sports gambling bill earlier this year. It’s now set to appear on November’s ballot.

If state residents give the green light, sports betting will become fully legal in Louisiana. Most feel this will be hugely beneficial. The state needs money and sports betting has proven to be a huge revenue generator for states around the country.

This could help to save many of Louisiana’s casinos. It’s still unclear if both land-based and online sports gambling options will become available. State leaders will come up with specific regulations in the industry after the ballot results in November.

Some predict that more casino sales in Louisiana will take place this year. Perhaps companies will hold off making this move if sports betting finally becomes legal here.

Are you surprised to hear that Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino is being sold? Will sports betting help to prevent more casino sales here? Let us know in the comments section below!

Golden Nugget Lake Charles Takes Damage From Hurricane Laura

Many of Louisiana’s top casinos are located in Lake Charles, an area badly hit by Hurricane Laura. That includes the Golden Nugget Lake Charles, one of the most popular gambling venues in the state. New videos have emerged that show the Golden Nugget had its roof blown off by the powerful wind generated by this hurricane. Golden Nugget

The casino industry in Louisiana had already been suffering due to a lack of players and increased regulations. This hurricane certainly isn’t helping. Now is the perfect time to look at how this storm will affect the casinos here moving forward. 

Let’s get into it!

History of Louisiana’s Casino Industry

The state of Louisiana has a rich history of gambling that dates back centuries. In the mid-1700s, a regulated lottery was actually set in place here. By 1890, however, lawmakers here decided to prohibit all forms of gambling. 

It was disappointing news for gambling fans here. Many protested the new law and started calling for the legalization of certain forms of wagering. These efforts paid off in 1923 when state leaders officially legalized horse race betting. 

The ban on gambling remained in place here for years. Many casino companies attempted to convince lawmakers of the benefits that Class III gaming venues would bring to the state. These efforts failed for decades. 

In the early 90s, lawmakers in Louisiana began to see the upside in a regulated, taxed casino industry. They felt it would help to promote tourism while bringing the state some much-needed revenue. Casino gambling and an official state lottery were approved in 1993. 

Many new casinos began opening up. In 2014, the Golden Nugget Lake Charles opened its doors and instantly became one of the best casinos in Louisiana. It took inspiration from the major casino-resorts in Las Vegas, offering a massive casino floor and 1,100 hotel rooms for guests. 

The Golden Nugget is still widely considered Louisiana’s best casino. Unfortunately, this popular gaming venue took some major damage from the Hurricane now sweeping through the state. 

Hurricane Laura Rips Roof Off the Golden Nugget Lake Charles

For days, experts have been warning about the danger of Hurricane Laura. It increased in strength at an almost unprecedented rate in a very short amount of time as it approached Louisiana. Just hours before reaching land, meteorologists called it “unsurvivable” for residents on the coast. 

The Hurricane is now moving its way through the state and fortunately, it wasn’t quite as devastating as many initially predicted. It was an incredibly strong wind storm. Major flooding did not end up occurring. 

CNN just released a video showing Hurricane Laura ripping the roof off the Golden Nugget Lake Charles. It goes to show how strong the winds were during the height of the storm. The damage to this structure can clearly be seen. Check it out below. 

This city was one of the worst-hit in Louisiana. Many of the casinos here likely suffered damage. None seem quite as affected as the Golden Nugget. We’ll need to wait and see how long it takes to repair this major gaming property. 

What else is going on with the gambling industry in Louisiana?

Will More Forms of Gambling Become Available in Louisiana?

This is the question many have been asking lately. Back in March, all of Louisiana’s casinos were forced to shut down. Many of them began to reopen in May, yet revenue from this industry is still considerably lower than it was in 2019. 

Louisiana is known for having a large, passionate sports fan base. Many have been calling for sports betting to become legal and state-regulated here. Several bills have been presented here over the years. In 2020, one bill made its way past the House and Senate and will now appear on the November voting ballot. 

Louisiana’s public will now need to decide whether or not to legalize this popular form of gambling. Most feel it will pass. This should help to bring the state a significant amount of revenue each year. 

Some have also discussed the possibility of Louisiana legalizing internet casino gambling. As of now, only a few states have done so. All are profiting massively. There is no update on whether or not lawmakers here plan on looking into this industry. 

Hope is that the Golden Nugget Lake Charles, and others in the area, are able to reopen before long. We’ll be sure to offer updates on the sports betting legislation here over the next few months! 

Do you think Louisiana should expand its gambling laws? Let us know in the comments section below! 

Eldorado Resorts Plans to Reopen Louisiana Casinos This Week

The US land-based casino industry is slowly coming back to life. Several states have begun allowing their casinos to resume operations. It’s great news for casino companies, many of which have lost an incredible amount of money due to this new pandemic. According to new reports, Eldorado Resorts plans to reopen three of its Louisiana casinos this week.Eldorado Resorts Logo

Casino fans are already getting excited. Of course, the casinos here won’t look quite the same as they did back in February. Today, we’re going to discuss which casinos will open, and what measures they will take to protect staff and patrons.

Let’s get into it!

Louisiana is Slowly Beginning to Open Back Up

There was a brief time when Louisiana appeared to have one of the biggest clusters of Covid-19 cases in the country. The state didn’t lock down before the Mardi Gras celebration, leading to a huge number of new cases. Since that time, Louisiana has been under lockdown.

All casinos in this state were shut down almost immediately after infections began appearing inside the L’Auberge Casino. Initially, it was unclear how long these gambling venues would be closed for. Governor Edwards made it clear that the state would remain closed down until infection rates became under control.

Casino companies with property in Louisiana began complaining about the current conditions. Everyone understands that reopening the casinos here is difficult. Unless something changed, however, many of these properties may be forced to permanently shut down.

Things are now starting to change. There are a little over 34,000 cases around the entire state. Rates of infection have dropped over the past month. Now, Louisiana is entering into phase two of reopening and some casinos are preparing to open their doors.

It’s an exciting moment for many people. Casino companies are working hard to ensure these casinos are opened up in the safest way possible. Eldorado Resorts has just announced it plans to open up three of the top casinos in the state. Here’s what this company has planned.

Eldorado Resorts Plans to Reopen Three Louisiana Casinos

Eldorado Resorts is one of the biggest and most successful casino companies in the country. At the moment, it’s also one of the worst-affected gambling companies due to the global pandemic. Eldorado owns and operates casinos in many states around the country.

That includes several in Louisiana. Eldorado Resorts has been one of the most proactive companies trying to allow casinos to start operating again. It has presented several different plans to state leaders.

Not long ago, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board gave this company the green light to open some of its gambling venues. The commission announced that casinos must limit occupancy to 25% of what it was a few months ago. Eldorado has now confirmed that it will open three of its major gaming venues inside the state.

Anthony Carano, president and CEO of Eldorado Resorts, commented on the new plans to the media this week.

“As we resume operations at our properties, the health and safety of our team members and guests is our No. 1 priority,” he said. “We have been working very hard over the last two months to prepare for the reopening of our casinos and we look forward to providing the outstanding service and hospitality experiences Eldorado is known for in a safe manner.”

Today, this company will reopen the Isle of Capri Lake Charles Casino, Belle of Baton Rouge Casino, and the Eldorado Shreveport. Many expect these venues to draw large crowds once their doors are opened. Hope is that revenue figures begin to increase for all of the casino operators here.

It’s an interesting time for Eldorado Resorts. This company continues to work on its massive deal with Caesars Entertainment.

Eldorado-Caesars Merger is Still Underway

It’s not entirely uncommon for major casino companies to merge. We’ve seen this happen on several occasions over the past few decades. No merger is as big as the one currently underway between Eldorado Resorts and Caesars Entertainment.

Back in June of 2019, these two companies announced they were merging. Eldorado paid an incredible $17 billion to acquire Caesars. Obviously, a deal of this magnitude takes a long time to complete.

Both of these companies need to gain approval from various state gaming commissions. Several states have already approved this deal. Unfortunately, the pandemic has significantly slowed down the progress of this deal.

That doesn’t mean things have completely stopped. In April, Eldorado announced it was selling two of its major casinos to help pay for the cost of this merger. That includes one of its Louisiana casinos.

Caesars Entertainment has also sold several major casinos to help move this deal along. Based on the way things are going, the deal will conclude before the end of 2020. We’re in an unprecedented time, however, and no one really knows how the land-based casino industry will fare over the next 12 months.

Are you excited to hear that Louisiana casinos are opening back up? Let us know in the comments section below.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Approves Proposed Caesars-Eldorado Merger

Eldorado-CasinoOn Friday, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board officially approved the proposed merger between Caesars Entertainment Corp. and Eldorado Resorts. While the board gave the $17.3 billion deal the thumbs-up, the regulator also criticized Eldorado for lacking in its efforts to upgrade its Baton Rouge casino.

Members of Eldorado’s brass made an appearance in front of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Thursday with hopes of helping the merger’s chances of being approved. Getting approval in all states in which Eldorado and Caesars operate is a necessary step for both to go forward with the proposed deal. The lucrative pact was officially announced in June of 2019, and industry experts believe the merger will close sometime in the middle of this year.

Louisiana Board Grills Eldorado Executives

Ronnie Jones, the Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, asked Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg whether he and his team “were up to the task to make sure that you spread attention to all of the properties in all states in which you operate.” Jones cited the fact that Eldorado’s Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel has struggled to meet its financial goals over the past few years and that the lack of renovations is to blame.

Jones also made a note of the fact that Reeg and the rest of Eldorado’s representatives in attendance for Thursday’s meeting did not even stay at the Belle property. Instead, they stayed at L’Auberge Casino Hotel, which is owned by competitor Gaming and Leisure Properties.

Eldorado has invested only $1.1 million since acquiring the Belle, with most of the money going toward refurbishing and upgrading slot machines and gambling equipment. However, Reeg and Eldorado formally pledged to invest quite a bit in the riverboat casino property in the years ahead.

Eldorado Pledges Millions to Louisiana Properties

Reeg said that he and his group “understand that asset in its current state is not acceptable to the state and is not acceptable to us either.” He added that the “situation will be different” the next time they appear before the board. Eldorado subsequently pledged to spend over $500 million in Louisiana over the next 4 years, with $325 million of that money going toward overhauling Harrah’s New Orleans. Harrah’s is operated by Caesars.

Another $110 million will be put toward moving the Isle of Capri Casino Lake Charles onto land. The same will be done to the Belle of Baton Rouge. That process will involve moving the riverboat into a nearby atrium that had previously housed a shopping mall.

More Regulatory Challenges Ahead

Shareholders for Eldorado and Caesars both approved the proposed merger in November of 2019. Louisiana was the second regulator to officially vote on the merger after Missouri voted in December, and there are 12 more states that need to do the same before the deal will close.

Reeg said last summer that he would expect the deal to close some time in the first quarter of 2020, but that is looking unlikely at this stage. At the time, Reeg said,

“We’re still targeting a first half of 2020 closing date. If I were to place a bet today, I’d be betting on a first quarter close versus a second quarter close. But we’re going through the regulatory and antitrust in real time.”

Shareholders from Eldorado and Caesars were both over 99 percent in favor of the deal. Eldorado’s stockholders additionally approved a measure to reincorporate Eldorado from Nevada to Delaware following the merger’s closing later this year. Eldorado is set to pay over $7 billion in cash with 77 million shares of stock in order to acquire 51 percent of the new company. Eldorado will also take on Caesars’ existing debts.

Once all regulatory hurdles are cleared, the new company will own 60 casinos with 51,000 hotel rooms, 71,000 slot machines and 3,650 table games across the United States.

Worker Still Missing Inside New Orleans Hard Rock Rubble

On Saturday night, a building under construction at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in New Orleans collapsed. More than 20 people were initially thought to be injured. Now, reports are surfacing that workers are still missing inside the New Orleans Hard Rock collapse.

New Orleans Hard Rock Collapse

It’s terrible news to hear about those injured or killed in this accident. Today, we’re going to talk about Louisiana’s laws on casino gambling. We’ll also look at how this accident happened and who it’s affected. Let’s get started!

Casino Gambling Laws in Louisiana

The state of Louisiana has had a love/hate relationship with the gambling industry over the years. The first legal gambling options became available here more than 200 years ago. Since that time, lawmakers have banned and relegalized various forms of gambling that can now be enjoyed here today.

Louisiana’s first real regulated gambling option was the state lottery that appeared in the 1860s. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for lottery officials to fall into corruption and soon politicians here recognized that something needed to change. By the late 1800s, this lottery was officially banned.

After the lottery was outlawed, the only real form of gambling here was pari-mutuel wagering on horse races. New Orleans has kept its horse racing tradition alive. Today, there are a huge number of “racinos,” which offer horse racing odds and certain casino games.

There are also a huge number of land-based casinos and poker rooms spread around the state. The majority of casinos here are located on riverboats. Some can now be found on land, as well.

Unfortunately, Louisiana still has a tough stance on online gambling. Lawmakers here have made it clear that all forms of wagering over the internet are banned. The state has only shown an interest in targeting online gambling companies and many individuals choose to play through LA casino sites anyways.

New Orleans Hard Rock Collapse Kills Two, Injures Dozens

One of the most popular gambling venues in Louisiana is the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in New Orleans. This casino has gained a fantastic reputation amongst gamblers thanks to its massive range of gaming options and great amenities. This week, one of the buildings that were under construction in this hotel collapsed.

It was unclear at first how many were injured in the New Orleans Hard Rock collapse. Initial reports claimed that around 15 had been hurt. LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans, was one of the first officials to confirm that two individuals had been killed.

“We can confirm we have lost two people, a third has not been found just yet so we don’t know. We have not been able to identify the three individuals,” she told the media. 

It’s now being confirmed that more than 20 people have been injured. One of the individuals killed has been identified, as well. You can check out the dramatic footage of this collapse below.

 

Officials on the scene are confirming that one worker is still missing inside the New Orleans Hard Rock collapse.

Search for Missing Worker Continues

It’s still not clear exactly how this building collapsed. We may not know for weeks exactly what happened. Right now, fire departments in New Orleans and the building’s construction firm are working to make the area safe for search crews.

Tim McConnell, Fire Chief of the city, is trying to stabilize the collapsed building. He’s considering utilizing a massive crane to prevent tumbling.

“We have someone we have not located and can’t get to where we think they might be,” McConnell said. “Our goal here is to continue making the scene safe so we can continue getting into this building deeper and deeper for rescue purposes.”

Citadel Builders LLC, the construction firm for this project, is flying out individuals from Europe to help crews remove debris and search for more victims. It’s been confirmed that one worker is still in the wreckage. Whether or not he’s alive is unknown.

The structure is still very unstable. We’ll need to wait for updates on the search over the next 24 hours. Stay tuned for more information!