The push to bring a new riverboat casino to Bossier City took another step forward Wednesday morning. The city council had agreed to enter into negotiations to purchase or lease city property for the project.
Lafayette-based Paradise Casinos, LLC has plans to buy the Isle of Capri's low-performing Crown Boat in Lake Charles, and move the license to Bossier City.
Before the vote on Wednesday, Bossier City council members held a special meeting to hear a presentation from the company revealing the name of the proposed new casino: Margaritaville. The developers of the casino project say they are working with Jimmy Buffet on a licensing agreement that will allow them to use the Margaritaville brand name, which includes a restaurant chain and a chain of stores selling Jimmy Buffet-themed merchandise. There are locations in tourist destinations in the U.S. (including New Orleans), Canada, Mexico and throughout the Caribbean. Margaritaville Holdings LLC will operate a restaurant on the proposed casino resort.
The CEO of Horseshoe Casino has expressed opposition to the plan, saying the city has not spent enough time studying how it will affect the casinos already licensed in the Shreveport-Bossier area. It would he the fourth Casino in Bossier City, in addition to two on the Shreveport side of the Red River.
There are still several hurdles before the area could see a sixth boat. Paradise Casino, LLC must present their economic impact and market studies to the Louisiana Gaming Board in July before being considered for approval of a "change of berth" for their license. If the license change is approved, the proposal will go before the voters November 19th.
If voters approve the new casino, the developers expect to break ground on the project shortly after and take 12-15 months to complete.
Paradise Casino wants to build the casino hotel and pavilion on the parking lot portion of a city-owned landfill between Bass Pro Shop on the Louisiana Boardwalk and a proposed David Toms golf course. They say the riverboat itself would be a brand-new one, not the one from Lake Charles.
The proposed $170 million resort-casino features a 400-room hotel and is expected to be the largest in the area. It is estimated that it could bring more than 1,200 jobs to the Ark-La-Tex.