Pinnacle’s Louisiana casino approved

Pinnacle Entertainment announced that the Louisiana Gaming Control Board has approved its plans for a hotel and gaming entertainment project on more than 222.5 hectares of land that the company owns or has under contract in Baton Rouge.

The master-planned development requires various other approvals, including a local-option referendum in East Baton Rouge Parish, which the company will seek to put on the ballot in February 2008, and adherence to certain conditions imposed by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

The project, designed to be built in phases, features a world-class gaming resort at the heart of a dynamic new entertainment and residential community. Phase One will be anchored by a state-of-the-art, single-deck riverboat casino with approximately 1,500 slot machines and 50 table games. An adjoining 100-guestroom first-class hotel will offer visitors an atmosphere of casual elegance.

An array of restaurants and lounges, ranging from simple to spectacular, will tempt guests with high-quality cuisine in attractive surroundings. Several of the restaurants will be located above the casino and will take advantage of the site’s sweeping views of the Mississippi River. An entertainment venue will offer live music and other exciting attractions. This first phase of development is expected to cost USD 250 million.

Both the design and the name of the new project, „Riviere“ and „Casino Riviere,“ evoke elegance and reflect the area’s French heritage. Future planned phases of Riviere include a residential community with more than 400 single-family and 240 multi-family units; a 100-guestroom hotel expansion; and a separate 100-guestroom extended-stay hotel.

Recreation and leisure are planned to include a full-service spa and health club; tennis club; equestrian center and riding trails; and a championship golf course, with the historic Longwood Plantation Mansion serving as its clubhouse. The casino hotel will be convenient to the planned new residential community, but also separated from it by River Road and the Mississippi River levee.

A pedestrian-oriented town center and village green will integrate retail shops, water features and live/work spaces. The development will integrate parks, walking, bike and equestrian trails, water features, lush native landscaping, carefully preserved wetlands and batture to reflect the area’s natural beauty.

To design the master plan for Riviere, Pinnacle retained The Jerde Partnership, which is famous for creating interesting and successful residential, entertainment and casino projects around the world.

„We’re grateful to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for their support of our Baton Rouge project,“ said Daniel R. Lee, Pinnacle Entertainment’s Chairman and CEO. „We’re excited by the scope and depth of Riviere, which goes well beyond casino gaming to create a regional entertainment destination and residential community. We believe that Riviere is a perfect addition to Baton Rouge, which is one of the largest, most exciting and fastest-growing cities in the southern United States.

„The project will bring significant economic benefits to the Baton Rouge area, including approximately 1,100 direct permanent jobs in Phase One alone, with a direct annual payroll estimated at USD 33 million,“ Lee continued. „Phase One also is anticipated to produce approximately USD 15 million per year in new tax revenues for the State and Parishes of Louisiana. Now, we look forward to sharing the plans for Riviere with the elected officials and citizens of Baton Rouge and working together with them to make this exciting new community a reality.“