Pennsylvania casino real estate investors are backing the Belle’s move onto land 

The owners of the Belle of Baton Rouge plan to move its operations inland. (Collin Richie)

Pennsylvania-based Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. announced on Wednesday that it would fund and oversee the landside move and hotel renovation of the Belle of Baton Rouge. 

Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., a publicly traded real estate investment trust, has committed up to $111 million for the project, expected to wrap up by September 2025. The total cost of the project is estimated at $141 million. 

Per the deal, GLPI will own the new facility while the casino’s owner, Queen Casino & Entertainment Inc., will pay an incremental rental yield of 9% on the development funding starting in May 2025. An initial payment occurred on May 30, according to the announcement. 

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board in 2022 first approved plans to move the Belle of Baton Rouge’s gambling operations into the casino’s atrium, which is expected to make the property more competitive, and reopen the Belle’s hotel. At the time, the project was touted as a $35 million investment meant to revitalize the state’s lowest-performing casino. Officials at the time said GPLI would provide up to $28 million of the project cost.

The East Baton Rouge Planning Commission approved plans to move the casino onto land earlier this year and permits were granted to contractors in March to begin some $30 million worth of work on the hotel. 

Peter Carlino, chair and CEO of GLPI, said the company wanted to build on the success of its funding of the landside move of The Queen Baton Rouge, which reopened last fall and has seen significant increases in collections since rebranding.