Transitional & TimelessSeptember 2023
First Person with Ronnie Johns, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control BoardSeptember 2023
by Taylor Trahan Henry
Nestled along the scenic Gulf Coast, Southwest Louisiana is not only famous for its stunning landscapes, and sportsman’s paradise, but also for being home to several major casinos that have been rolling in prosperity and transforming the local economy.
These larger-than-life gaming establishments have become a cornerstone of the Southwest Louisiana lifestyle, attracting both locals and visitors alike with promises of thrilling entertainment and life-changing wins. But beyond the allure of flashing lights and the clinking of coins, these casinos have a deeper significance to the area that extends far beyond their gaming floors.
First and foremost, the economic impact of these casinos cannot be underestimated. They employ a large workforce, providing countless job opportunities to residents, ranging from dealers and croupiers to hospitality staff and security personnel.
Additionally, they serve as magnets for tourism, drawing in millions of visitors every year to experience the enchantment of gaming, fine dining, and live entertainment. The influx of tourist funds has breathed new life into local businesses, fueling economic growth in restaurants, hotels, and various tourist attractions.
Join us as we go behind the scenes to unveil the magic and the mechanics of the casino world in Southwest Louisiana. From uncovering the innovative strategies that have contributed to their success, to exploring the diverse experiences they offer, we’ll paint a comprehensive picture of how these vibrant establishments have become an integral part of our community.
The history of gaming in Louisiana is a tale of economic evolution, cultural convergence, and legislative transformation. From the early days of riverboat gambling to the emergence of vibrant casino resorts, Louisiana’s gaming industry has undergone a remarkable journey.
The origins of gaming in Louisiana can be traced back to the 18th century when French settlers brought their penchant for games of chance to the region. While informal gambling activities were prevalent, it wasn’t until the 19th century that a more structured form of gambling emerged. Steam-powered paddlewheel boats, carrying travelers along the Mississippi River, often became hubs for gambling, and the riverboat casino concept was born.
The real game-changer for Louisiana’s gaming industry occurred in 1993 when the legislature approved land-based casinos, allowing operators to establish large-scale casino resorts beyond the confines of riverboats. This shift sparked an era of rapid expansion in the state’s gaming sector, with the development of several iconic casino destinations.
Additionally, Louisiana’s unique cultural heritage played a significant role in shaping its gaming industry. The state’s rich history, lively music, and vibrant cuisine became integral components of the casino experience, making it distinct from other gaming destinations. In recent years, gaming has continued to evolve in Louisiana, with the introduction of sports betting and online gaming, keeping the state at the forefront of the industry’s developments.
Southwest Louisiana is home to several incredible casino properties that bring fun and luck to both residents and visitors alike!
L’Aurberge Casino Resort Lake Charles
Owned by the esteemed PENN Entertainment, this luxurious haven caters to a diverse audience, offering an enticing array of amenities and experiences that captivate both the young and the young at heart.
Upon entering L’Auberge, hotel guests are greeted by an oasis of leisure. The resort boasts a stunning pool, complete with a lazy river where guests can effortlessly drift away their cares. For those seeking relaxation of a different kind, the Spa Du Lac promises rejuvenation and tranquility. And golf enthusiasts can tee off at the prestigious Contraband Bayou Golf Club, taking in the lush surroundings.
One of L’Auberge’s crown jewels is its Event Center, where a steady stream of nationally and internationally recognized talents grace the stage year-round. Whether it’s a world-class musician, a renowned comedian, or an acclaimed theatrical performance, L’Auberge’s Events Center ensures there’s always a reason to return.
Inside the grand vaulted ceiling of the casino, excitement knows no bounds. With approximately 82 table games and a staggering 1,400 slot machines, there’s a game for every visitor’s taste. Whether you’re a seasoned card shark or a novice looking to try your luck, the casino floor offers a thrilling experience.
For sports enthusiasts, Barstool Sportsbook is a haven. Featuring a 24-foot video wall, 15 betting kiosks, 3 over-the-counter terminals, and 22 slot machines, it’s the perfect place to catch a game. Add to that the tantalizing dining and drink specials and 45 TVs that broadcast the best games, and you’ve got a sports lover’s paradise.
Culinary experiences at L’Auberge are nothing short of exceptional. Johnny Sánchez, the brainchild of renowned chef Aarón Sánchez, graces the property with a tantalizing menu that’s a fusion of Mexican and Southern flavors. For those craving the best of local cuisine, Drago’s Restaurant, owned by Louisiana’s own Tommy Cvitanovich, serves up some of the finest seafood in the region.
But the culinary journey doesn’t stop at Johnny Sanchez and Drago’s. For a more refined dining experience, Ember Grille and Wine Bar beckon with an exquisite menu and an extensive wine selection.
Innovation is key at L’Auberge, and it’s embodied in the PENN Play app. This cutting-edge technology allows for cashless, cardless gaming, making the experience seamless and hassle-free. It’s a unique feature that sets L’Auberge apart in the market.
L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles is more than just a casino hotel; it’s a destination that caters to a wide audience. With its luxurious amenities, world-class entertainment, innovative gaming options, and an array of culinary delights, it’s a place where memories are made and where a thriving, vibrant lifestyle is embraced. Whether you’re 25 or 65, a visitor or a local, L’Auberge promises an experience that’s nothing short of exceptional.
Horseshoe Lake Charles
Horseshoe Lake Charles is a transformed gem within the world of gaming and entertainment. Under the banner of Caesars Entertainment, this renovated property seamlessly blends tradition with modern luxury, offering a captivating experience for visitors, located just off I-10 in Westlake.
Horseshoe Lake Charles boasts a spacious gaming floor, encompassing a whopping 62,000 square feet of excitement. With over 800 slot machines and more than 40 table games, there’s no shortage of opportunities to test your luck. And for the poker enthusiasts, the dedicated poker room offers thrilling action and the chance to show off your skills.
For sports aficionados, Horseshoe Lake Charles introduces the Caesars Sportsbook, providing a best-in-class sports betting experience. Whether you’re an avid fan or just looking to add an extra layer of excitement to the game, this sportsbook promises an exhilarating way to engage with your favorite teams.
Dining at Horseshoe is a culinary adventure. The 7 Seven Noodle Bar tempts guests with a delectable array of Asian-inspired dishes, while Brew Brothers serves up classic comfort food with a twist. The Slice Pizzeria and Pasta caters to those craving Italian flavors, ensuring there’s something to satisfy every palate.
When the sun sets, the Four Suits Lounge comes alive, offering a dynamic nightlife experience. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away, enjoy live music, or simply unwind with a cocktail, this lounge provides the perfect ambiance.
The accommodations at Horseshoe Lake Charles are equally impressive. With over 250 new and modernized hotel rooms, guests can relax in comfort and style. Whether you’re enjoying views of the surrounding landscape or indulging in the plush amenities, these rooms provide a welcome retreat after a day of gaming and entertainment.
Horseshoe Lake Charles is a testament to the enduring allure of gaming, where a rich history meets a commitment to innovation and guest satisfaction. As part of the renowned Caesars Entertainment family, it offers a gaming experience like no other.
From the moment you step onto the gaming floor to the final toast at the Four Suits Lounge, Horseshoe Lake Charles invites you to immerse yourself in a world of excitement and luxury. Whether you’re a seasoned gambler or just looking for a memorable getaway, this renovated property promises an unforgettable experience.
Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel
In Vinton, Louisiana, a hidden gem awaits those seeking excitement, entertainment, and a taste of the thrilling world of horse racing.
Delta Downs offers three distinct ways to play, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a slots enthusiast, a sports fan, or a lover of horse racing, Delta Downs delivers an unforgettable experience.
One of the standout features of the property is its family-friendly approach to horse racing. While betting is reserved for those of legal age, the races free to enter, making it an ideal outing for families looking to create lasting memories.
The thoroughbred racing season at Delta Downs kicks off in October and gallops through February. During this time, visitors can expect races nearly every Wednesday through Saturday, with exceptions for holidays. It’s an opportunity to witness the power and grace of these magnificent animals up close and experience the rush of placing a winning bet.
Extensive updates have been made throughout the property, with a particular focus on the casino floor. Nearly all the slot machines have been replaced with new models, and the atmosphere has been revitalized with fresh carpet and paint. This commitment to a modern and inviting gaming environment ensures that guests can play and relax in style.
Beyond gaming, Delta Downs offers an array of amenities to enhance the guest experience. A resort-style pool beckons visitors to unwind and soak up the Louisiana sun, while a well-equipped fitness center caters to those who want to stay active during their stay.
When it’s time to dine, guests have the choice of two exceptional options. The classic Rosewater Tavern offers a timeless dining experience, while the newer Tin Lizard bar and grill serves contemporary cuisine and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
For horse racing enthusiasts who can’t get enough of the action, the Off-Track Betting (OTB) center is open from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM seven days a week. Here, fans can watch and bet on most major races, ensuring they never miss a moment of the thrilling sport.
Joshua Britt, the Marketing Manager of Delta Downs, sums up the feel of the establishment. “We pride ourselves on fun,” he says. “We recently reevaluated our strategies and refocused on a truly fun and exciting guest experience.” This commitment to creating a vibrant, enjoyable atmosphere is evident in every aspect of Delta Downs. So enjoyable, in fact, that Delta Downs was voted Best Racetrack in America in USA Today’s 10 Best for 2023!
Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel is not just a destination for gaming; it’s a place where families come together, racing enthusiasts cheer on their favorites, and everyone can indulge in a bit of Southern charm. With its updates, amenities, and a renewed dedication to delivering fun and excitement, Delta Downs promises a winning experience for all who enter its doors.
Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Lake Charles
Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino offers a world-class gaming experience and a host of luxurious amenities. With 1,600 slots, 87 table games, seven live-action poker tables, and the exciting new DraftKings Sportsbook, this destination is a haven for those seeking their fortune.
One of the standout features of the Golden Nugget is its diverse array of dining options. Guests can savor exquisite seafood at Landry’s Seafood, enjoy the breathtaking waterfront views at Chart House, savor prime cuts at Saltgrass Steak House, or indulge in the finest steaks and seafood at Vic & Anthony’s. The culinary adventure here is as varied and exciting as the casino itself.
When the sun sets, the Golden Nugget transforms into a hub of nightlife and excitement. Blue Martini, Rush Lounge, and the Ice Bar offer exceptional drinks and entertainment, providing the perfect atmosphere to unwind and let loose after a day of gaming.
For entertainment beyond the casino floor, the Golden Nugget features an Events Center that hosts big-name acts from the world of music and entertainment. Whether it’s the soulful tunes of Lainey Wilson, the infectious rhythms of KC and the Sunshine Band, or the timeless classics of John Anderson, the Events Center promises unforgettable experiences.
The 24K Select rewards program adds another layer of excitement to the Golden Nugget experience. Players can accumulate points not only for gaming but also for dining and entertainment, which can be redeemed across all Landry’s, Inc. restaurants and Golden Nugget Casinos. It’s a loyalty program that truly rewards guests for their patronage.
Beyond gaming and entertainment, the Golden Nugget offers a wealth of resort amenities. The H20 Pool + Bar is a tropical paradise where guests can relax in style, while the spa and salon provide a range of treatments for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. Shopping enthusiasts can explore a variety of boutique stores, and the nearby beach and marina offer endless possibilities for outdoor recreation.
Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino Lake Charles is more than just a gaming destination; it’s a world of luxury and entertainment that caters to the discerning traveler. With its exceptional gaming options, diverse dining experiences, vibrant nightlife, and a wide range of resort amenities, it’s a place where dreams come alive.
Whether you’re trying your luck at the slots, savoring a gourmet meal, dancing the night away, or simply unwinding by the pool, the Golden Nugget promises a memorable experience that leaves guests yearning to return.