A land-based casino in Baton Rouge? Task force weighs possibility

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Changes could be coming to how the state regulates casinos, and—should that happen—the Belle of Baton Rouge will likely get a makeover.

The Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force, created last year to study the state’s rules for casinos, is wrapping up its work and is expected to issue recommendations to the Legislature ahead of next spring’s regular session.

Though recommendations haven’t been finalized, the state’s foremost casino regulator, Ronnie Jones, says he thinks the task force will probably suggest allowing some form of land-based gaming.

“We were one of first states to go with riverboat casino model, (and) we’re one of the last states to dispose of it,” says Jones, who is chair of both the task force and the state’s Gaming Control Board. “I suspect that’s probably going to be the primary recommendation of the task force.”

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