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Bossier City takes first step to bring in new casino

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 11:55am

Bossier City is one step closer to sealing the deal on building a fourth riverboat casino next door to the Louisiana Boardwalk.  The Bossier City council held a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to vote on a property deal with the casino developer.

A unanimous "yes" was the vote among Bossier City councilman to move forward with the selling land just north of Bass Pro Shop to Paradise Casino.  Deborah Harkins, an attorney for Paradise Casino, said the next step is to petition the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for a transfer of ownership and a change of berth of the gaming license.  They plan to make that petition within twenty-four hours of the ordinance passing.

The transfer comes from the Isle of Capri's "non-performing" Crown Boat in Lake Charles, which would clear the way for a 400-room, full-service resort in Bossier City.

"This is going to be an extremely high-end project," said David Jones, Bossier City Councilman of District 4.  "It quite possibly could force the others to maybe up their game a little bit to compete." 

Paradise Casino expects the casino will bring about 1200 permanent jobs to the area.  In addition, temporary construction jobs and other secondary benefits will be available during the developing stages.

Once the gaming control board approves that petition request, a November 19 election would leave it up to Bossier Parish voters to decide on the casino's fate.  Councilman Jones believes most voters will be on board.

"All the ill-wills that were predicted by some of the people when the gaming market first opened up here didn't occur," he said.  "It's allowed us to reinvest in things such as the CenturyTel Center and the boardwalk and other things that help us continue to make this a destination."

Harkins spoke encouragingly about the opportunities that Bossier City offers to their development plans.  "We think Bossier City has great synergy with the boats you have now," she said.  "It's a great place to grow the market, and it offers more opportunities to growth in the market than any other location in the state."

Paradise Casino will present a more in-depth development plan to the city council for a vote in a special session on June 22 at 8:30 a.m.

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