If it were up to Louisiana’s gambling regulator, a new casino in Slidell would be a done deal. It’s not, however, but the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) wants to make sure its thoughts on the matter are now. A petition to relocate a gaming license from Bossier City to Slidell has been approved by the regulator, even though the measure still faces an uphill battle before coming to a close.
Slidell, LA, Casino Still in the Works
Yesterday, the LGCB approved a resolution that would allow Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, LLC (P2P) to relocate its gaming license from Bossier City to Slidell. P2P is behind the Diamond Jacks casino, which is at the center of the move, and wants to resurrect it in Slidell as the Camellia Bay casino. If it gets its way, the new property will be a $329-million casino resort that includes a 4-star hotel and will be located right off the famous Twin Bridge along Interstate 10.
The LGCB thinks it’s a good idea, as the approval of the request shows. However, the thought of a casino in Slidell has met significant resistance from the local community and has led to a number of lawsuits being introduced to try to stop the project from moving forward. Even the mayor of Slidell, Greg Cromer, has indicated that the thought of a casino in his backyard doesn’t sound too appealing. He said last month that he would “be voting NO on the casino referendum.”
Several More Hurdles to Jump
Approval by the LGCB is important, but it isn’t the final step in the process. The State Bond Commission has to decide next week if it should introduce a referendum that would lead to local voters in St. Tammany Parish deciding the project’s fate. The measure could be on the ballot this November; however, elections have been pushed back to December by Governor Jon Bel Edwards because of Hurricane Ida and the ongoing recovery.
The parish council has already weighed in on whether there should be a vote, but the council members couldn’t reach a clear consensus. Most of those on the eastern side of the parish don’t want the matter put to a vote, while most on the western side do. St. Tammany is considered a hard-core conservative parish, and finding enough support for a gambling property is proving to be a difficult challenge.
If the license relocation finds all the approvals it needs, the new casino could be ready sometime in 2023 and is expected to provide jobs for more than 1,000 people. It would also deliver around $9 million to the local government through taxes. However, if it isn’t approved, P2P will need to figure out how to put its license in Bossier City to good use and will have to do it quickly. The company will only have 60 days to reopen Diamond Jacks.