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Spotlight 3: Gambling on Expansion - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Spotlight 3: Gambling on Expansion

Next year, Louisiana will mark 20 years of legalized casino gambling in the state.

It will also mark a more than $1 Billion investment with 3 new casinos, including one in Bossier City.The new $195 million Margaritaville Casino Resort is set to open in August 2013.With a 400 room hotel, Margaritaville Restaurant, pool and theater, it will be something that this area has not seen before.Work is underway on the new casino, just north of the Louisiana Boardwalk.Although it's still in the early stages of construction, what the future holds for the casino and the area is already being debated.At the Southern Gaming Conference in Biloxi, Mississippi this week, the expansion of casinos in Louisiana was one of the topics.Geno Iafrate, a vice president for Pinnacle Entertainment says it's going to be interesting to see how the market changes with the new casino. Iafrate worked as General Manager of Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City. He says there will be an impact, but the question is whether it will bring in new revenue, or just pull from the existing pot.Margaritaville developer William Trotter projected a 12.5% growth with his casino.One big blow for the Shreveport - Bossier market is the expanded Indian casinos in Oklahoma.They're closer to Dallas than Shreveport - Bossier.But the 3 new casinos now under construction will take more of a resort approach.Iafrate says gone are the days of just casinos and hotels.He says it's now about services, whether that be shopping, a spa, pool or restaurants.Margaritaville may help protect this market by attracting gamblers who might head north to Oklahoma.

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