State regulators Wednesday gave conditional approval to open the newly constructed casino and hotel resort off Nicholson Drive, provided it passes the final inspections.
The $368 million L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge complex is scheduled to open to the public on Aug. 29.
All the various inspections for the roadways and the vessel have been completed, said Kirk England, senior vice president of construction for Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.
The casino also has received the permits necessary to allow employees to board the casino boat for training, England told the Louisiana Gaming Control Board at the regulators’ monthly meeting. “We’re cooking in the kitchen and feeding employees,” said England, of Las Vegas.
The complex will employ about 1,200.
The board passed a resolution allowing panel chairman, Dale A. Hall, of Baton Rouge, to sign off on the orders that would allow the casino to begin gambling operations provided the remaining certifications are approved. The architects need to certify that the complex is substantially complete and ready for occupancy. The Louisiana State Police needs to complete its pre-operative inspection.
England said both are scheduled for next week and neither should present much problem. “What always happens is because it’s so large, there’s always a bolt that needs tightening,” England said. Only minor items, such as carpet and wall coverings, remain to be finished, he said.
The board’s resolution, which was approved on an 8-0 vote, would allow Chairman Hall to receive the remaining certifications and sign off on the final order to allow gambling to begin at the casino. The resolution also would allow for the return to Pinnacle of the $25 million, plus interest, that was set aside in escrow to guarantee completion of the project.
Pinnacle built the last casino opened in Louisiana. It was in Lake Charles.
Construction of the casino in Baton Rouge began in May 2010.
The facility is built on 575 acres of land near where Gardere Lane intersects with River Road. Though called a riverboat, whose hulls were built by Bollinger Shipyard in Amelia, the casino is moored and will not move. It will be set back in the Mississippi River bank out of main navigation channels.
The property will include a single-level, 74,000-square-foot casino; nearly 1,500 slot machines; 50 table games, including a poker room; a 12-story hotel with 205 guest rooms, a rooftop pool and fitness center overlooking the Mississippi River; four dining outlets; a casino bar with river views and 2,400 total parking spaces, including 800 in a covered parking garage.
The grand opening of the property on Aug. 29 is scheduled to feature entertainment, dining and an unveiling ceremony, capped off with a fireworks display.