Hollywood Casino of Baton Rouge’s plan to move the gaming facility on land includes a 38,000-square-foot addition, which will expand the casino’s footprint on River Road to more than 100,000 square feet.
The expansion will add an entertainment venue with 250 seats and a mezzanine overlooking the Mississippi River as well as a sports bar. The buffets currently on the second level of the casino will be converted into meeting rooms and event space.
With the additional offerings, the casino will have two entrances—one that brings you directly into the gaming floor and another for non-gaming guests.
That’s according to Jeannie Magdefrau, general manager of Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge, who shared preliminary graphics of the expansion at this morning’s Downtown Development District meeting. Hollywood’s current facility comprises 64,000 square feet.
The construction—to cost between $21 million and $25 million—is expected to be completed by the end of February 2022, depending on the river levels, Magdefrau says. The project is expected to create 166 construction jobs, with total labor costs of approximately $10 million.
At the meeting, Magdefrau also shared a video from former LSU legend Shaquille O’Neal, who’s bringing his Big Chicken restaurant to the landside facility. Big Chicken is a fast-casual restaurant offering fried chicken, barbecue and “adult milkshakes.” O’Neal opened his first Big Chicken in Las Vegas in 2018 and has since opened a second location in California.
“I can’t wait to bring Big Chicken to Baton Rouge,” O’Neal says in the video. “I know y’all like some chicken down there.”
Hollywood Casino will be the first riverboat casino in Louisiana to take advantage of legislation passed in 2018 allowing riverboat casinos to move on land. The proposals were recommended by the Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force in hopes that it could spur investments into Louisiana properties.