Bossier City takes another step closer to new casino

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 5:38pm

Bossier City took another step forward in the fast-moving process to build a fourth riverboat casino on their side of the Red River.

Developers from Paradise Casino presented their plans to the Bossier City Council this morning for the Caribbean-inspired hotel and casino.  At the meeting, the city council approved an ordinance allowing the city to negotiate purchase or leasing of city land, just north of Bass Pro Shop, to the developers.

Mixed reactions came from outside and inside of the Bossier City Council meeting this morning where developers described their plans for a resort-like Margaritaville Hotel & Casino.

"This will be something different," said Paul Alanis, a partner in the development.  "It's going to be tropical, it's going to be fun and more exciting.  It's going to be a different experience."

President of the Bossier City Council echoed the developer's statements, "I think competition is going to be healthy in the market."  The proposed casino would create 1200 to 1500 jobs.

Among the excitement, there was also concern of the downfall of other area casinos.  Mike Rich, the general manager of Horseshoe Casino and Harrah's Louisiana Downs, spoke out against the quick decision to move forward with the plans.

"Will this product really help the market or will it continue to be a declining market with a new product added in causing damage to some of the smaller players," he said.  He said his main concern is the effect the new casino would have on the horse industry at Louisiana Downs.

Before a license is officially transferred the Louisiana Gaming Control Board would conduct a suitability investigation to make sure Bossier City would be the right fit for another casino.

Alanis believes there will always be opposition from competing properties.  "I hope and trust that they were relieved and pleased to see that the type of project we're going to do is something that truly will help the market, grow the market and help for everyone to be successful," he said.

After economic and market studies are complete, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board would vote on the change of berth for the gaming license.  If approved, the proposal would go before Bossier Parish voters November 19.

Developers estimate the proposed $170 million property would take 12 to 15 months to complete after breaking ground.

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