New casino: Economic boost or bust?
As exciting as a new 400-room resort-like riverboat casino sounds, is Bossier Parish ready for it?
"If we had to talk about opening up a new casino today, the third week in June of 2011, no," said Dr. David Hoaas, an economics professor at Centenary College. "But we have to realize that we are 12 to 15 months before construction starting on this casino."
Between starting and finishing construction, Dr. Hoaas believes there will be enough time for the economy to improve. He explained, "Just as we see a decline as we move in it, through the recession, we will see those dollars and those expenditures increasing in the future."
Brandy Evans, Vice President of Communications for the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, told us that Shreveport-Bossier sees stiff competition from Oklahoma, so adding a resort-like casino would help expand the gaming product in the area.
Competition within Shreveport-Bossier would also likely stiffen. In the first six months to a year, the new boat may draw customers away from other boats in the area, said Dr. Hoaas. "But as people realize that this is a gaming destination overall, we will see an increase in a number of people visiting the new boat and we will also see those people staying in the area visit also the existing boats."
Finding ways to entertain families beyond the gaming experience like activities for kids and non-gamblers could help make Shreveport-Bossier a gaming destination.
"Anything where we can really give people multiple opportunities to spend their dollar is really good for our local economy," said Dr. Hoaas.