Louisiana’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved yesterday Senate Bill 213 that might enable the transfer of a casino license from Bossier City to Slidell in the Tammany Parish. The license transfer can become reality only on condition both state regulators and parish residents vote in its favor. The company behind the proposed casino, the Los Angeles-based Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), closed its Diamond Jacks property in Bossier City last year.
P2E, which holds fifteen gambling permits in the Pelican State alone, then started discussions to relocate its casino license to the Slidell area, where it proposed to build a new facility worth $250 million. The facility would sit on Lake Pontchartrain’s northeast shore. The state judiciary committee approved the bill with a 4-3 vote. However, parish voters and state regulators must also give it the thumbs up before P2E’s plans become a reality.
The license transfer could magnify tax revenue by over $60 million. According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, it is hard to provide accurate estimates in the absence of concrete plans and sufficient information. Some of the locals oppose the idea, insisting it is important to consider the casino’s potentially negative effects on the Slidell community before anyone can draw definitive conclusions.
The Casino Project Could Create 1,900 Job Positions in the Area
Bill 213 was penned by Senator Sharon Hewitt who is confident the project could create permanent employment for 1,900 people from the area. Senator Hewitt insisted the local community has the final say, stressing that the project must also gain the approval of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
The bill was co-authored by seven other legislators who represent the parish. Proponents of the idea claim the market in the Shreveport-Bossier area is already very saturated when it comes to gambling. In the meantime, transferring the casino to the southeast part of the state might attract Louisianans who would otherwise play at Mississippi properties.
Furthermore, the casino’s transfer would not deviate too many clients from the New Orleans gambling market, the proponents insist. However, not everyone embraces the idea of moving the property to Slidell. Most of the opponents are representatives of the local churches. They argue gambling ultimately causes more harm to the economy than good.
A significant portion of the revenue comes from the pockets of people who struggle with problem gambling. Such individuals tend to spend way more than they could or should afford, the opponents argue. They warn gambling venues could potentially transform into hubs for other harmful practices such as human trafficking and prostitution.
Others think that only Slidell residents should be allowed to vote rather than the entire St. Tammany Parish. The city will suffer the negative consequences of casino gambling, whereas the rest of the parish would only snag a share of the revenue.
Senator Hewitt countered this consideration by reminding the opposition that the entire St. Tammany Parish voted down casino gambling in the mid-1990s. It makes sense that all parish residents should have a vote on reversing this position, the Senator concluded.