Slidell Casino Project Rejected by Voters
A plan to bring a casino to Slidell, Louisiana have fell through after voters decided to say no on a recent ballot measure.
In some states in the US, before a casino can be constructed, voters must approve it. This is known as a referendum. In Louisiana, a recent referendum was added to the ballot for residents to vote on the Camellia Bay Resort. The casino would be added to the Lakeshore Marina in Slidell with a $325 million price tag. Unfortunately, voters decided to say no on the matter, dashing any hopes that Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) had to bring a casino to the parish.
Just Say No
Voters located in the St. Tammany Parish decided to vote no regarding the single question on the parish ballot. Residents living in the parish were asked if they would allow a casino to be constructed in the area, with gaming licensing moving from Bossier City to Slidell.
Of the voters taking part, 63% decided to come out in opposition regarding the project. This was more than enough to stop the project in its tracks. Over 30% of eligible voters came to the polls to take part in the decision, which was more than was originally expected.
Peninsula Pacific Entertainment wanted approval to move its license connected to the DiamondJacks Casino to Slidell. The change was opposed by faith-based groups that did not want to see a casino move to their community.
Stand Up St. Tammany is a group that came out against the casino plans, stating that the community has spoken once the vote outcome was revealed. The group stated that they were happy with the voter turnout and proud that the community was able to stand strong together with the overwhelming vote.
Vying for a More Attractive Market
P2E closed its DiamondJacks casino during the pandemic. The operator then started to think about how it could move its licensing to a new area that might be more lucrative than its original location. The end result was to create a casino in Slidell.
The company is not happy with the outcome of the election but are grateful for the relationships that were created while working on the Camellia Bay project.
Peninsula stated that the vote as a big loss as a total of $5 million was used via a campaign to push for a yes vote. P2E also donated $1 million for relief efforts connected to Hurricane Ida. The storm actually delayed the planning process for the casino through December instead of mid-November.
Local leaders have also spoken out, stating that the no vote is a big financial loss for Slidell and St. Tammany parish. With a successful vote, P2E would have spent $35 million on a complex next to the resort that would have been used for community athletic needs. An additional $5 million was to be added for a ring levee in Slidell.
Now that the St. Tammany Parish residents voted no, Peninsula Pacific is not at risk of losing its license. The state Gaming Control Board can choose to revoke the license if they like. The other option would be for P2E to reopen the casino in Bossier City.
The decision by the voters comes at a time when a lawsuit challenging the referendum was taking place in court. A group filed the lawsuit, feeling that the local ballot referendum allowing gaming within a single location might not be legal based on the state constitution.
The plaintiffs felt that a localized gaming referendum must legalize gaming in a parish and not in a specific location within the parish. The plaintiffs felt that more casinos would feel they could come to the area if the vote had been in favor of P2E.
Because of the negative outcome, it is believed that the lawsuit will be satisfied.