Southern Gaming Summit slated

Published 10:03 pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

Expensive new casino projects that will transform the Louisiana casino market in the next two years will be the focus of an opening day session at the 19th annual Southern Gaming Summit, to be held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, May 8th through 10th.

The session, “Louisiana: Primed for Growth?” represents a collaboration between the Mississippi Casino Operators Association (MCOA) and its Baton Rouge-based neighbor in Louisiana. The two groups have developed joint content and marketing strategies designed to add value for Louisiana-based attendees at this year’s Summit.

Wade Duty, Executive Director, Louisiana Casino Association, will moderate the opening day session on Wednesday, May 9. Panelists will include Daniel Davila, Partner, Poydras Street Capital; Geno Iafrate, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Pinnacle Entertainment; Larry Lepinski, General Manager, Mojito Pointe and Jeff Michie, General Manager, Belle of Baton Rouge. They will discuss the overall market outlook, which is being shaped by an impressive list of upcoming new projects:

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

— Baton Rouge: Pinnacle’s L’Auberge Baton Rouge, is expected to cost $357 million, excluding land and capitalized interest. Projected opening date is this Labor Day.

— Bossier City: The market’s sixth riverboat casino will be a $170 million Margaritaville-themed resort with a major entertainment component. The project includes an 18- to 20-floor hotel tower with 400 rooms, a 1,000-seat entertainment center and restaurants overlooking the Back Bay. Projected opening date is May of 2013.

— Lake Charles: Mojito Pointe, a $400 million luxury casino resort to be located on a 242-acre site. MGM will manage the new resort under an MGM brand to be announced. Creative Casinos, which originated the project and steered it to a successful referendum vote last year, will develop and own the resort. Construction on the resort is expected to begin before year-end in anticipation of an opening in mid-2013.

The session is part of an expanded conference program, built around the theme of “Work Smart.” The Southern Gaming Summit will feature 18 breakout sessions, up 50% from prior years, adding operations-oriented titles and topics such as “The Efficient Casino: 50 Ways to Meet Your Numbers,” project development, slot and table game math, as well as hotel yield management, to an established agenda of executive-level conference topics. There will also be plenty of networking opportunities available throughout the event.

Full details on every aspect of the show, including how to register, are available at