Riverboat gambling could soon be coming to Louisiana’s eighth largest city after a state politician reportedly revealed that he intends to propose legislation that would reclassify a section of the Ouachita River in order to make it more attractive to casino operators.
According to a Tuesday report from The News-Star newspaper, Marcus Hunter from the Louisiana House of Representatives explained that his proposition could be filed as early as this week and would allow an area on the south side of the city of Monroe to host a riverboat casino should an existing state-licensed operation wish to relocate.
The newspaper reported that the idea of bringing a casino to the community of some 48,800 residents, which sits in Ouachita Parish some 73 miles west of the four large casinos in Vicksburg, Mississippi, began a year ago after first being broached by Charles Theus, Executive Director for the city’s Southside Economic Development District.
The News-Star reported that Theus wants a riverboat casino to serve as the focus of a planned Monroe entertainments district that could possibly additionally encompass bars and a video poker venue alongside an outdoor performance area.
Theus reportedly declared that he intends to ask for official support for his plan at the next meeting of the Monroe City Council, which could come as early as Tuesday, while revealing that one Louisiana-licensed casino operation had already expressed an interest in relocating to Monroe.
As to the identity of this interested party, The News-Star reported that the Southside Economic Development District has been endeavoring to tempt the DiamondJacks Casino Hotel venue, which sits on the Red River some 97 miles to the west in Bossier City, into a move. Although the operation owned by Los Angeles-based investments firm Peninsula Pacific sits in the center of a region of almost 447,000 people, it shares the area with three prestigious rivals including the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and the Horseshoe Bossier City.