State gambling regulatory bodies gave their approval to a proposed casino license transfer from Bossier City to Slidell.
The Louisiana watchdogs’ decision has been a crucial step in the legal procedures that could officially result in the official closure of Bossier City-based Diamond Jacks casino and the transfer of that casino’s operating license to Slidell, where a new gambling venue called Camellia Bay is set to start operation. The proposed casino resort, which is worth $329 million and will also feature a 4-star hotel, has caused much controversy lately and has also become the reason for several lawsuits.
Now, with the Lousiana gambling regulator having passed a resolution permitting Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) to move its existing casino license from Bossier City to Slidell’s St. Tammany Parish, the State Bond Commission will have to decide on September 16th whether to organize a referendum to see what St. Tammany’s voters think about the project. Under the resolution, the referendum had to be held on November 13th, but Governor John Bel Edwards put off the date to December 11th due to the state’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Ida.
Currently, St. Tammany is known as one of the most conservative-learning parishes across the state of Louisiana, with a total of 185,510 registered voters, only 23% of whom are Democratic. Although the parish has been literally flooded by advertising notes and placards promoting the vote, December elections are usually low-turnout affairs and are generally won by the side that turns out to be better organized and manages to motivate their supporters to go vote.
St. Tammany Voters to Determine Whether Casino License Will Be Transferred or Not
According to the supporters of the casino project, the venue would employ about 1,000 people with an average annual salary of $45,000 when it starts operation in November 2023. Reportedly, the St. Tammany Parish casino would bring about $33.3 million in annual gambling taxes to state coffers, while the local government would be able to get about $9 million from the taxes on the casino’s gambling operations.
As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, the casino license transfer has drawn much criticism and vocal opposition, mostly from Slidell area-based churches that have been concerned that the addition of a gambling venue would result in increased crime rates and other social ills for the local community. However, churches have not been the only ones to oppose the project, as some businesses have joined the efforts to deflect the referendum.
Some public officials have also shared some concerns regarding the casino, with Slidell’s mayor also being one of them.
Now, if the majority of St. Tammany’s voters approve the move, P2E will be able to transfer its license from Bossier City to Slidell. If the referendum passes, the company would sell its property and buildings situated in the downtown part of Bossier City or, if they are unable to do so, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment would probably convey the property to the city. In case St Tammany voters decide to turn down the effort, the operator would be given 60 days to reopen its Bossier City casino, which was closed in May 2020.