LEEVAC lands $40 million casino boat contract

LEEVAC Industries LLC, Jennings, La., is building a $40 million riverboat casino for Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment. When completed, the 330’×225’×13′ paddlewheeler will operate in Lake Charles, La., for Pinnacle subsidiary PNK LLC. 


The boat has room for 4,000 customers.

Lay, Pitman & Associates Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla.-based naval architectural firm, designed the vessel. It will be the first single-level casino boat built in the U.S. and the largest gaming facility constructed in Louisiana, said Matthew Pitman, who designed the boat. (Pitman worked for Rodney Lay & Associates for 20 years before becoming a partner this summer.)

“The vessel is designed as three separate (steel) hulls to create one vessel,” he said. “All three hulls will have connections that are above the waterline.” 

Once the hulls are completed and the connections made, the vessel will operate dockside inside a coffer shell as a continuously moored vessel, Pitman said.

The casino will be outfitted with more than 1,500 slot machines and other games of chance in a structure that is far more open than other casino boats, said Pitman. “The multilevel creates problems for people in that they have to go up and down to eat or enter another gaming area,” he said. “The single level structure is very spacious and easy to get around in.”

Though the boat will be dockside, it will be fitted with its own split-paddlewheel propulsion system. Two General Electric motors will produce 450 hp each.

Ship’s service power will come from two Caterpillar 3508B DITA gensets.

The casino boat will be U.S. Coast Guard certified Subchapter H and is scheduled for delivery in December 2004.

“This boat will introduce more of a Las Vegas feel to Lake Charles, like bringing Las Vegas to Lake Charles,” said Pitman.              — Ken Hocke 

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