What’s in a name change? How about a new identity?
The riverboat casino Isle of Capri in Lake Charles will become a land-based property, and it will operate under the name Horseshoe Casino Lake Charles.
The transition project will end with the rebranded casino featuring 60,000 square feet of gaming space.
Hail, Caesars Horseshoe: Board approves new name
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board gave the property’s new identity a stamp of approval in a mid-August meeting. The name change resulted from a buyout finalized in July 2020, when Eldorado purchased Caesars for $17.3 billion and took on Caesars’ name.
A licensed gaming supplier plans to buy the hurricane-tossed Isle of Capri riverboat casino. In its place, a land-based state-of-the-art casino is expected to open by autumn 2022 under the new Horseshoe name. Among other upgrades subject to Board approval, it will house a sportsbook location (approved last year in 55 Louisiana parishes).
In 2019, the Gaming Control Board approved the Isle riverboat casino moving to land — the first such approval under 2018’s Act 469, allowing riverboat licenses to move to a land-based location within 1,200 feet.
According to a news release put out by Caesars Entertainment, the project should bring more than 300 new construction jobs to the area, now the parent company of the Isle of Capri Casino – Lake Charles. Horseshoe is Caesars’ casino brand.
Tom Reeg, the CEO of Caesars Entertainment, has said, “Our growing pledge to Louisiana and the region’s growth continues with this investment, and we are proud to lead in the recovery of Lake Charles and its community.”
Hurricanes storm through region, bringing damages and delays
Fortunately, this past weekend’s Hurricane Ida missed the area. Hopefully, delays caused by tropical storms — or pandemics — have ceased. But Lake Charles wasn’t so lucky in the 2020 hurricane season.
Originally, the new $112.7 million land-based casino was scheduled to open in May 2021.
Then the pandemic exploded. With its 150 mph winds, Hurricane Laura hit Louisiana in late August 2020, damaging the new construction site and pushing the Isle of Capri riverboat under a bridge. The storm also badly damaged an older hotel at the site; the Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved its demolition at the same meeting.
Hurricane Delta, also Category 4, followed Laura in October. Renovations stalled for months.
“When Isle of Capri shut down amid the COVID-19 panic, we had no idea it wouldn’t reopen again for more than two years. Between the pandemic and the destruction wrought by Hurricane Laura, the challenges our Team Members have faced are unparalleled,” said Jeff Favre, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Isle of Capri Lake Charles.
New chair Ronnie Johns is excited to move forward
The August 19 meeting was the first presided over by former Lake Charles Sen. Ronnie Johns, who was recently appointed as Gaming Control Board chair by Gov. John Bel Edwards. He thinks the plans for the Horseshoe Casino bode well for Southwest Louisiana.
“We’re very excited about what they’re building there,” Johns said the day after the meeting. “It’s going to be a much nicer property than what we envisioned.”