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Louisiana’s Treasure Chest casino moving onto land

January 8, 2022 GMT

KENNER, La. (AP) — A transformation is in the works for the suburban New Orleans-based Treasure Chest casino, which has announced plans to move onto land as part of a $95 million expansion.

A 2018 Louisiana law clears clears the way for floating casinos to move onto land and casino officials said this week that they’re headed in that direction. The Treasure Chest, one of Louisiana’s 15 gambling boat operations, has been docked on Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner since 1994. Planning for the expansion project began after the law went into effect but was slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Boyd Gaming Corp. President and CEO Keith Smith said.

“We’re not just moving it to land; we are upgrading and expanding what we have to offer,” Smith said.

The plan calls for building a new, 47,000-square-foot casino on the current site of the Treasure Chest’s parking lot, just inside the Lake Pontchartrain levee, news outlets reported. The casino will be on one level and include new restaurants such as a steakhouse and a sports bar, sports book and meeting and event space, according to a video shown at Wednesday’s announcement.

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Construction should begin by the middle of 2022, and the new casino could open as soon as late 2023, Smith said.

“It’s exciting for the city of Kenner,” Mayor Ben Zahn said of the expansion. “We have a lot of plans for the lakefront.”

Revenue from the Treasure Chest provides almost $4 million per year to Kenner government. That revenue could rise to more than $5 million with the new development, Zahn said.

Under the municipal ordinance passed last year, about one quarter of the revenue will go to the Police Department, a little more than one third to capital projects and the remainder will be split among the five City Council districts and paying off debt, The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

“We’ve had a great run but it’s time to make this property better,” Smith said.

The existing riverboat casino, which is operated by Boyd Gaming, is expected to remain open during construction.

Aside from the Treasure Chest, the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles and the Hollywood project in Baton Rouge will also move gambling boat operations landside.