Rampant inflation and a broken supply chain are crimping a variety of industries, and gaming isn’t immune from the problem. Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge, La. is a prime example of macroeconomic woes hindering a gaming venue.
Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge. Its move ashore is being delayed by inflation and supply chain woes. (Image: The Advocate)
Persistently high inflation and a supply chain broken at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic are the main factors in delaying the riverboat casino’s move ashore. That plan was announced nearly two years ago. At that time, it was estimated Hollywood Casino would be a land-based venue by early 2022.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) told local media Hollywood’s on-shoring plans are being delayed in part by a shortage of steel, which is stoking higher prices of that material.
Owing to soaring producer prices, the budget for the gaming venue’s move ashore surged to $100 million from $60 million. Hollywood Casino is one of a small number of casinos owned and operated by Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., which is primarily a casino landlord.
Hollywood Baton Rouge Motivated to Come Ashore
The Louisiana Gaming and Control Board (LGCB) approved the move. In 2018, Pelican State policymakers passed a bill that was later signed by Governor John Bel Edwards (D), allowing the state’s 15 riverboats to come onto land. The catch in that legislation is that gaming operations at the land-based venues must be conducted within 1,200 feet of the original docking site.
Since then, several other riverboat casinos won approval to become land-based venues. The motivation for such moves is clear: More gaming space. The Hollywood Casino currently has 29,000 square feet of gaming area, with 859 machines and 12 table games — figures that could expand by moving onto dry land. When completed, the new venue will also feature a sports watching area and sportsbook.
On the bright side for Gaming and Leisure, access to labor isn’t one of the problems it’s dealing with in Louisiana. Still, the inflation and supply chain woes are delaying the move to dry land to the second quarter of 2023.
Gaming and Leisure plans to rename the venue Casino Rouge when the move ashore is completed.
Louisiana Casino Inflation Concerns
Hollywood Baton Rouge isn’t the only Louisiana casino that has to contend with the specter of inflation. Rising consumer prices are an issue that could weigh on the state’s gaming industry at large.
The bulk of the state’s casinos are frequented by locals and visitors from Texas, meaning still-high gas prices could easily motivate patrons to spend less upon arriving at Louisiana gaming venues, or scrap trips altogether.
Gaming executives with properties in other states say signs are mounting inflation is playing an increasingly prominent role in customers’ spending habits.
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