Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) of Los Angeles, California has been around for nearly 22 years and has been in the casino industry for most of that time. It served as the holding company for Peninsula Gaming, which was sold to Boyd Gaming for $ 1.45 billion nine years ago and is behind Bossier City, Louisiana’s DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel. COVID-19 forced the property to close last May, but P2E was unwilling to give up the casino industry in Louisiana. They want to build a new property in Slidell, just outside New Orleans, but there is a problem. Bossier City is in the Caddo parish on the northern border of Louisiana, while Slidell is in the St. Tammany parish to the south.
In Louisiana, casino licenses are issued by the community, not the state. As a result, P2E, led by CEO Brent Stevens, would first have to get approval from state lawmakers that would approve (or reject) a motion to vote in St. Tammany Parish. Then residents would have to approve (or reject) the motion if they could make it to the vote. After that, the state gambling regulatory authorities would have to approve the relocation of the license, if the voters had agreed, as well as approve any development plans.
Even if lawmakers agree to allow the electoral measure, P2E faces a fight. Years ago, St. Tammany Parish voters found a casino gambling measure on the ballot that they were quick to reject. Almost two thirds of voters rejected this measure in 1996; However, in the past year they have been more likely to support gambling. On a sports gaming measure that was on the ballot in November, 67% of voters approved the opportunity for sports betting to come to the community.
Slidell is about 35 minutes northeast of New Orleans, directly over the 5-mile bridge. If Stevens and P2E could get the support they needed, the new venue could potentially be a $ 250 million resort near Pontchartrain Lake and the Lakeshore Marina. It would offer the casino and 250 key hotel, but no information was provided about other amenities. While it is possible that COVID-19 may make community voters more accessible to the idea of a casino as has been seen elsewhere, Stevens needs to realize the tough battle he will be waging.