DiamondJacks may have tried to hit the road, but now it looks like the Bossier City casino may be coming back in February, with a new potential date to reopen.
The latest chapter in Peninsula Pacific Entertainment’s (P2E) story ended with unanimous approval by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, extending the deadline to reopen its DiamondJacks Casino.
DiamondJacks in Bossier City shut down in May 2020. Now its reopening will likely happen on February 25. P2E’s plan to transfer the riverboat casino’s license to St. Tammany Parish went under in a December 2021 referendum.
Referendum scrambled DiamondJacks original reopen date
P2E’s petitioned the Board extend the February 9 “drop-dead date.” The reopening date was originally mandated if the referendum didn’t go in P2E’s favor. A September 8 resolution (amended September 16) set that date and specified actions to be taken in scenarios of the referendum either going P2E’s way or not.
The resolution stipulated that the LA Riverboat Gaming Partnership, dba DiamondJacks Casino & Resort, had 60 days to reopen after a defeat. On September 16, the governor and Board postponed the original referendum date of November 13 to December 11. Addressing damage from late August’s Hurricane Ida took precedent over the referendum.
At the January 20 meeting, P2E attorney Peter Connick assured the Board that the company’s entire management team would appear at the next Board meeting with a “verifiable and comprehensive plan.”
And by order, the plan to be presented on February 17 meeting will include “at a minimum”:
- Date of recommencement of gaming
- Proposed operational minimums
- Associated costs
A unanimous quorum of Board members agreed to the extension request.
A close call for DiamondJacks
DiamondJacks closed in May 2020 during the initial phase of the Covid lockdown, citing issues from the pandemic as the reason. In October 2020, the casino let go 349 employees and held a liquidation sale.
At the time, the company had no plans to reopen the casino, which was paying about $10 million every year in taxes to the state and local economy and injecting more than $21 million into the area’s economy annually.
Meanwhile, P2E attempted to move that casino operation, speculating that relocating to a less saturated market would be more profitable. They expressed interest in a St. Tammany Parish site and proposed a $325 million casino project. The proposal also included additional dollars for an area athletic center and a ring levee.
While the project garnered support, fear of a casino’s impact on the area motivated a vocal opposition.
In the end, despite the goodwill of volunteers from P2E in Ida’s aftermath and a $5 million campaign, the proposal failed. Votes tallied at 63% against and 37% for the measure.
What’s next for DiamondJacks?
P2E presents its proposed reopening plan to the Board at the regularly scheduled meeting on February 17.
Previously, Board Chair Ronnie Johns expressed an expectation that DiamondJacks might eventually move to land. A 2018 state law lets riverboat casinos move out of the water within 1,200 feet of their berths.