Gaming board rejects group's casino proposal

by Brandon Richards bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC-TV) – The Louisiana State Gaming Control Board rejected a bid from one of the groups interested in building a new state-of-the-art casino resort in Lake Charles.

Tomorrow's Investors, a group headed by local businessman Chester Jones, did not submit a $50,000 fee with its application last month.

On Thursday, Jones appeared before the state gaming control board and asked to pay the fee there on the spot. But by a vote of 6-3, the board denied that request.

The board said it would be unfair to accept Jones' late application fee when the other groups submitted all of their requirements on time.

"I'm very disappointed in the outcome of yesterday," said Jones. "There was nothing in the statutes to stop them from allowing us to go forward."

Jones said the reason he did not submit the fee back in September was because potential investment partners had concerns about the kind of project board members were looking for. For instance, Jones said investors on Wall Street were telling him the $350 million investment Port of Lake Charles officials were looking for was too high for the size of the Lake Charles market.

Jones said he submitted his concerns in writing to the chairman of the state gaming control board, but did not hear anything in return.

Tomorrow's Investors said they will work on finding a way to get their application submitted, but did not elaborate on how they planned on doing that.

"Our hopes and dream as local people is to bring a first-class casino to Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish," said Jones. "We're looking to see what options are available to us to allow us to do that."

It could be an uphill fight for Jones and his team. The state gaming control board hopes to select one of the proposals from one of the three remaining groups as early as the first quarter of 2011.

Of the three remaining groups in search of a license, two of them (Creative Casinos and St. Gabriel Downs) propose building casinos in Lake Charles; the third (Penn National Gaming) wants to build a casino near New Orleans.

Copyright 2010 KPLC-TV.  All Rights Reserved.