Let it ride
Hurricane isaac delayed L'Auberge Casino & Hotel's opening by three days. But when the party barge on stilts declared all bets were no longer off on Sept. 1, visitors waited for hours to be among the first to step inside.
Pinnacle Entertainment Inc., L'Auberge's parent company, says on its first weekend more than 18,000 visitors walked aboard the riverboat off River Road near Gardere Lane. The crowd gambled at the nearly 1,500 slot machines and 50 tables, and devoured more than 8,000 meals from the three interior restaurants.
L'Auberge's revenue, however, will not be publicly reported for at least a couple of months. The Louisiana State Police usually takes about two months to issue monthly reports for riverboats in the state—Baton Rouge now has three.
The 74,000-square-foot L'Auberge says it has created 1,000 new jobs and will generate more than $50 million in annual tax revenue.
Sen. Mary Landrieu even lauded Pinnacle's fourth statewide location for the casinos' donations of millions to local charities and investment in the economy.
Years in the making, L'Auberge's opening will also turn attention toward the downtown boats—Hollywood Casino and the Belle of Baton Rouge. Inside watchers say the market isn't deep enough here to support three riverboats and one of the older casinos may be forced to take its gaming license elsewhere.
In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the Belle generated $73.6 million in casino revenue and Hollywood generated $122.5 million.
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