Riverboat Casino in Bossier City to be Sold, Relocated to Land

Changes are coming in Louisiana for a shuttered riverboat casino, as DiamondJacks Bossier City will be sold to Foundation Gaming and undergo a reported $200 million renovation. A re-opening is planned for 2024.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board has given the green light to the sale for an undisclosed sum. LGCB Chairman Ronnie Johns revealed in a Tweet that Mississippi-based Foundation Gaming “wants to invest 200-million dollars” to remake DiamondJacks Casino and relocate it to the mainland in Bossier City.

Any plans for a casino makeover must be approved by state regulators, and the approval of the sale was unanimous in last month’s hearing. The Diamondjacks riverboat facility has been closed since mid-2020, in large part due to the impacts of COVID-19 shutdowns. In October 2020, more than 300 employees were laid off, and later that year, owners liquidated most of its physical assets.

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Proposal Would Result in Only Land-Based Casino in Shreveport Area

According to reports from state officials, Foundation Gaming plans to rebrand the casino following a relocation to the Shreveport-Bossier City area on the mainland. That would make the new casino the only one in that region not on the water. As part of the deal, Foundation Gaming will gain control of the gaming license previously held by Peninsula Pacific Entertainment.

The plan submitted to Louisiana gaming officials calls for a 47,000-square-foot casino to be located at 711 Diamond Jacks Boulevard in Bossier City, a short distance from the current riverboat facility. The facility will also feature a 550-room hotel, sportsbook/betting lounge, multiple restaurants, retail locations, swimming pool, and spa. There are also plans for an entertainment stage to serve a 300-seat music/performance venue.

Bossier City Mayor Thomas Chandler has thrown his support behind the plan, which would also create many jobs for the region, which is still recovering from the economic impact from the pandemic. Sam Jenkins, Democratic State Representative from District 2, where the proposed land-based casino would be located, has also come out in support of the project.

Bossier City is located in Bossier Parish in the northwestern region of Louisiana, adjacent to Shreveport, which is the second-largest metropolitan area of the state. The 2020 U.S. Census shows a population of 62,701 for Bossier City, and over 187,000 in Shreveport/Bossier City.

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Foundation Gaming: Casino Makeover Specialists

This will not be the first time Foundation Gaming has taken an eye sore and given it new life. Previously, the gaming and entertainment company purchased and renovated the Fitz Casino and Hotel in Tunica, Miss., and the WaterView Casino and Hotel in Vicksburg in the same state. This will be the first venture by Foundation Gaming in Louisiana.

As we previously reported here at Louisiana Sharp, there is a trend in the state to move away from riverboat gambling facilities. Foundation Gaming has, and LGCB Chair Jones have mentioned a possible reopening for Spring of 2024, which would mean a 12-14 month construction project.

“I’ve been very impressed with Foundation, and I feel very confident they will inject new life into the property, which is good for Shreveport-Bossier and for Louisiana,” Johns said of Foundation Gaming doing business in the state.

In its Mississippi casinos, Foundation Gaming has chosen to operate its own retail sportsbooks rather than partner with brand-name sports betting operators. It’s not yet known if that strategy will also be in their plans for Louisiana and the new Bossier City casino. There are ten retail sportsbooks in Louisiana, with various partnerships with operators such as Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

Louisiana gaming law requires retail sportsbooks to partner with one of Louisiana’s land-based, Native American, or riverboat casinos. The tax rate is set at 10% for retail sports bets and 15% for online sports bets in Louisiana.

Sports Betting in Louisiana Tops $2 Billion in Total Handle

Retail sports betting launched in Louisiana in November of 2021. As the state approaches its first full calendar year of online and retail sports betting, total handle has already surpassed $2 billion, and taxes have exceeded $29 million.

In its first 12 full months of legal sports betting, Louisiana reported $2.09 billion in total handle (bets accepted), and $30.1 million in tax revenue. The state only reports that information together, both online and retail betting, so that’s the complete picture of legal sports betting from December of 2021 through the end of November 2022.

File Photo/The Shreveport Times

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.