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Bally’s N.O. riverboat finally licensed

Jun 24, 2003 6:36 AM

It has taken five years to resolve but Park Place Entertainment Corp. (PPE) can finally operate its Bally’s Casino Lakeshore Resort on Lake Pontchartrain with a valid license and without a partner’s lawsuit.

Actually, it wasn’t PPE’s original problem, it was more of a dispute between Hilton Hotels and its partner, MetroRiverboat Associates. When Hilton Hotels looked to spin off its casino assets into a new company, partner, Norbert Simmons, who had a majority interest in the riverboat, objected and filed a lawsuit. A couple of months ago, Simmons’s interests were bought out and his lawsuits settled.

Until early this year, the boat, the Belle of Orleans, was operating under a temporary license. Last week, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board renewed the boat’s license and then granted a new license that will expire in March 2005.

Conditions applied to the license included requiring Park Place Entertainment to maintain its compliance program and a full-time compliance officer and to report any payments the company makes to public employees, including services and gifts.