Treasure Chest Casino officials on Friday held a ceremonial topping off of the Louisiana resort’s $100 million renovation and expansion project.
The Treasure Chest riverboat has called Lake Pontchartrain home since its opening in 1994. Co-developed and opened by Boyd Gaming, the Las Vegas-based gaming operator fully acquired the Louisiana riverboat in July 1997 after buying out local investors who had controlled 85% of the gaming project.
Boyd Gaming has operated Treasure Chest ever since. Following a change to state gaming laws in 2018 that allows riverboats to move inland, so long as they remain 1,200 feet from their original barges, Boyd last year announced a significant investment plan to overhaul the riverboat that’s located just north of New Orleans in Kenner, La.
The $100 million overhaul will result in a new land-based casino measuring 47,000 square feet. The brick-and-mortar gaming floor will replace and nearly double the size of the riverboat, which measures 24,000 square feet.
Boyd Gaming and Treasure Chest officials, along with state and local government representatives, on Friday topped off the new resort structure. The final steel beam was put in place after Boyd execs signed the crossbar.
Today’s topping-off ceremony represents a milestone for Boyd Gaming and Treasure Chest Casino after nearly 30 years of operation,” said Kim Etland, vice president and general manager of Treasure Chest. “Our transition to a land-based casino reinforces our commitment to the city of Kenner, our employees, and our patrons.”
Boyd Gaming reps said they expect the new Treasure Chest Casino to open in about a year’s time. Along with a new casino, the resort will be complemented by 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a FanDuel Sportsbook, and convenient parking.
Parking at the riverboat has generated much criticism, as the small lot is often occupied and guests are required to use valet or park in an overflow lot that requires a quarter-mile walk — lengthy for some gamblers who frequent the boat.
The new Treasure Chest is being built adjacent to the riverboat. Boyd CEO Keith Smith says the land-based casino will expand the venue’s gaming options and allow it to better compete with Harrah’s New Orleans.
“With this project, we will be taking this property to another level,” Smith said. “We believe Treasure Chest is going to be an entertainment experience this entire community is going to enjoy and a destination the community can take pride in.”
Treasure Chest has seen its admissions decline over the past two decades.
Treasure Chest during its 2004 fiscal year counted more than 1.6 million guests. By the 2014 fiscal year, that number dropped to a little more than one million entries. The casino’s admissions for the 2022 fiscal year totaled less than 600,000 patrons.
The casino’s gross gaming revenue has naturally declined, too. Treasure Chest won more than $110.7 million from gamblers in 2004. Gaming income fell to $97.6 million in 2014 and was $97.1 million last year.
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