Pinnacle Renews Casino License

February 14, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

A company that wants to open a third riverboat casino in Baton Rouge got another casino license renewed despite confusion about whether the firm might face an ethics probe.

State investigators told the Louisiana Gaming Control Board that nothing in Pinnacle Entertainment's known background should block renewal of the L'Auberge du Lac Casino in Lake Charles.

They said they could not find out one fact: whether the Louisiana Board of Ethics is investigating allegations by an opponent of the Baton Rouge project that Pinnacle broke state campaign financing laws last year.

The board unanimously renewed the Lake Charles license for five years despite the missing information.

State ethics administrator Gray Sexton said later that State Police should have asked for him when they called the ethics office because they apparently got a wrong answer from a subordinate.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Charles Gaudin said even if his board knew about an ethics probe, it is not certain how that would affect a decision to grant Pinnacle a license.

Pinnacle, with headquarters in Las Vegas, also is proposing a casino boat and resort at River Board and Bluebonnet Boulevard in southern East Baton Rouge Parish.

The Gaming Control Board has not decided whether to license the project.