Louisiana’s Oldest Casino, DiamondJacks Slated For Demolition, Overhaul

Written By J.R. Duren on December 21, 2022
Louisiana riverboat casino DiamondJacks will move to land by 2024

Nearly 20 years ago, Louisiana opened its first casino. Located in Bossier City, the gleaming new riverboat was called the “Isle of Capri.” Today, that riverboat is known as DiamondJacks Casino, and, in the next few months, it could be gone.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) has approved the sale of the riverboat casino to Foundation Gaming. Additionally, the casino transferred its license to Foundation.

The sale and license approval signal a fresh start for a Louisiana casino that closed its doors during the pandemic and never opened them again.

New property will be first land-based casino in Northwest Louisiana

Like several other states, Louisiana’s first taste of casino gambling came by way of riverboats. Over time, legislators warmed to the idea of land-based casinos.

And, because of that, companies like Foundation have the chance to move Louisiana’s aging boats into gaming’s modern era. According to local media, Foundation’s new casino and hotel will include:

  • More than 1,000 slot machines
  • More than 50 live and electronic table games
  • An entertainment center
  • A sports betting lounge
  • A steakhouse and bar
  • Shopping

Foundation also plans to renovate the property’s existing hotel towers. The plan is to offer 405 new rooms with 20 suites, as well as meeting areas.

The gaming board chairman believes the casino will be complete in late 2024.

New Louisiana casino plans have LGCB, Mayor optimistic

While riverboats were a novel concept when they first launched, time has not been kind to the betting barges. As such, overhauling the aging properties brings with it hope for an economic boost.

Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler spoke with local media about what Foundation’s plans mean for the area. Chandler said:

“We’re excited because that’s not only gonna bring that new casino in, but they will bring other people in to come to that casino. It’ll probably be better off with other businesses and stuff that like that and open up the East Bank and the Riverfront even more.”

LGCB Chairman Ronnie Johns said the project should be completed in 2024. That may seem like a long time, but, had the board not approved the sale and license transfer, it would’ve taken an additional year.

“This is the quickest way to get the property up and running again and to do it just in a first-class manner, something that Bossier City, Bossier Parish and Shreveport can be proud of,” Johns said.

As for the local impact, Bossier City should benefit from the new casino. The tax rate on casinos is 21.5% in Louisiana. Some of that money will go to Bossier City.

“Some of that money could be going into the school board, possibly some of it can be going into whatever the way the city of Bossier wants to spend their money,” Johns said, “but being from the Lake Charles area myself, I see what it does in terms of local taxes down here with our casinos, so it does have a huge impact.”

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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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