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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Take it to the Bank


Foundation Gaming builds on land-based casino

The new owners of the DiamondJacks Hotel and Casino property in Bossier City are in the process of removing the riverboat and renovating the property into the first land-based casino along the Red River in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

Foundation Gaming and Entertainment announced in late December 2022 that it had purchased the property, which did not reopen after closing during the statewide COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

“We are pleased to have completed this acquisition and look forward to finalizing the plans for this project,” said Greg Guida, co-CEO of Foundation Gaming. “Now that we have completed the transaction, we will be focusing on the design and development process, which will include re-branding the property. Foundation Gaming is looking forward to being a part of this new and exciting opportunity in Bossier City.”

Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler and members of his staff met in early February with officials from Foundation Gaming to discuss plans for the property. Chandler said he was enthused by those meetings.

“Working with Foundation Gaming has been awesome,” he said. “Every time they are in town, they come by and say hi. They have a lot of big ideas. Everything they have said, they have done.”

Chandler said the early stages of the project include some demolition and cleaning up the property, as well as removing the riverboat that previously housed the casino operations.

“Somebody’s already purchased it,” he said. “It’s going down south to be a barge or something.”

Chandler said the project’s next phase would include renovating and updating the hotel rooms and building the land-based casino.

“They are going to upgrade that whole property, which is going to be very valuable for Bossier City,” he said. “It’s going to be very, very good for us.”

The plans also include an entertainment venue on the property.

Foundation Gaming and Chandler said few other details are available at this planning and development stage.

Chandler said the project is another step in a revival along the Bossier City side of the Red River, including recent developments in the East Bank District and developments at the Louisiana Boardwalk.

“There’s all kinds of stuff going on down there right now,” he said. “The Boardwalk is going to come up again.”

A local ownership group is putting a Three Amigos Mexican restaurant on the former Buffalo Wild Wings location at the Boardwalk. It is scheduled to open for Cinco de Mayo.

That same ownership group, led by John Dudley, is planning a $20 million golf facility next to Margaritaville Casino and Hotel. That facility, Chasing Aces, will feature 30 swing bays, an 18-hole putting green and a nine-hole, par-three course that will be lit at night. The facility also will include a sports bar and a banquet hall.

“There’s a reason that restaurant’s going in down there,” he said. “There’s going to be some people down there.”

Foundation Gaming’s project at the former DiamondJacks is estimated at $200 million. The city is cooperating with Foundation Gaming to facilitate permitting and related project elements. Chandler said the timeline for the project is estimated at 18 months to two years.

Chandler said he took one condition into the meetings with Foundation Gaming.

“I’d like them to use local contractors,” he said. “Keep the money here close to home.”

Chandler is excited about the prospects the project brings.

“I think it’s going to be a big economic value to the area,” he said. “It’s going to bring in a lot more jobs. It’s going to bring a lot of entertainment. It’s going to intertwine with all the other things we’ve got.”

The Bossier City property adds to Foundation Gaming’s portfolio of U.S. properties. The company also owns WaterView Casino and Hotel in Vicksburg, Miss., and Fitz Casino and Hotel in Tunica, Miss.

“This acquisition plays to our strengths of reviving existing properties in wellestablished regional markets, as well as adding diversity to our geographic footprint,” said Donn Mitchell, CFO of Foundation Gaming. “Once we get construction and renovations completed, the property will be a welcome addition to our existing portfolio.”


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