Penn National Gaming isn’t waiting for Louisiana authorities to decide the winner of the state’s 15th casino license.
The casino operator began preliminary work on a site the company has proposed for new casino in New Orleans along the Harvey Canal.
According to New Orleans media outlets, two backhoes are removing a blighted industrial building to make way for Penn National’s proposed $145 million Hollywood Casino Harvey. The casino would be three miles from Pinnacle Entertainment’s Boomtown New Orleans.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board is not expected to award the state’s final casino license until Feb. 17. Penn National is one of three companies hoping to win the gaming license. Pinnacle returned the license to the state last year when the company decided not to build a second casino in Lake Charles.
Two of the proposals would keep the license in Lake Charles while Penn wants to move the license to the New Orleans site, building a casino with 1,500 slots machines, 44 table games, a steakhouse, a buffet and a parking garage. A second $155 million phase of the project calls for a 250-room hotel, a second parking garage and an entertainment showroom on a seven-acre tract.
If Penn National Gaming were awarded the provisional casino license, Jefferson Parish voters would have to approve the project. A company spokeswoman said the casino could open 12 months after voter approval.
Penn National acquired the debt covering M Resort at the southern end of the Las Vegas Valley and is expected to close on the transaction early this year.