Famed Treasure Chest Casino Makes $100M Leap Ashore in Louisiana


Sweeping across the serenely rippling waves of the Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner, Louisiana, the renowned Treasure Chest Casino has long been a symbol of dusk-till-dawn revelry. Yet, the mighty riverboat is now poised to make a grand leap ashore – lured by the sturdiness of brick and mortar, just inland from the azure embrace of the lake shore.

For almost three decades since its birth in 1994, the Treasure Chest Casino has held a charmed spot under the aegis of Boyd Gaming. The power player, that has dictated the pulse of Las Vegas and other regional gaming circuits, decided in the dawn of 2022 to anchor this beloved riverboat permanently ashore. This monumental shift is marked by an investment of around $100 million to transform the mobile vessel of chance into a stationary fortress of pleasure. As the final trimmings are added, the all-new Treasure Chest stands eager to swing open its doors to the first wave of guests.

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The echoes of laughter, triumph cries, clinks of glasses, and hopeful whispers that sail on the river will gently fade at 11:59 p.m. CDT on Saturday, June 1. These are set to rise with renewed vigor and magnificence from the heart of the new Treasure Chest, at 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 8. The land-based reincarnation is awaiting its destiny down Williams Blvd, about a mere 1,000 feet from the placid lake’s edge where the riverboat tossed anchor.

The grandeur of the forthcoming edifice is captured in its 47,000 square feet of gaming space – a proud homage to the 24,000-square-foot legacy kept alive on the riverboat. The journey inward paints a landscape of over 900 shimmering slot machines and two dozen live dealer table games beckoning the hopeful. Joining the crowd, a FanDuel Sportsbook is also setting up shop within the month.

With treasures kept by several gourmet restaurants including a sports bar and grill, and an upscale steakhouse, the land-based casino is poised to rival the majestic resorts of Las Vegas. Holding the promise of becoming a hub for meetings and events, the Treasure Chest will offer a sprawling 10,000 square feet of customizable space, with the allure of quaint, yet modern charm.

This transformation mirrors recent legislative navigation in Louisiana, where state lawmakers in 2018 permitted licensed riverboats to find a new anchor in brick-and-mortar developments, as long as the new casinos remained within 1,200 feet of their original barges. This enabled the Treasure Chest to become the fourth land-based casino in Louisiana, following Harrah’s New Orleans, Horseshoe Lake Charles, and The Queen Baton Rouge. In the wake of this change, another brick-and-mortar casino is under construction in Bossier City.

While Harrah’s New Orleans is a beacon to visitors flooding into the Big Easy, the Treasure Chest has set its sights on wooing the local populace. This redirection reflects Boyd Gaming’s strategic decisions, particularly after the 2021 vote in nearby St. Tammany Parish that rejected a potential casino in Slidell.

Yet, despite the fresh allure of the land-based Treasure Chest, the fiscal year of 2023 saw a downturn, with winnings sinking over 11% from the prior year. The riverboat’s operations never bounced back to their pre-pandemic glory. But hope springs eternal for the new brick-and-mortar endeavor. Anticipation builds for the familiar magic of the old riverboat casino to echo through the hallways of the new Treasure Chest, igniting a renewed love for the game in the hearts of its loyal patrons.