Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), the Los Angeles-based company that hopes to transfer its Bossier City casino license to Slidell, brought aid to that town following the recent Hurricane Ida.
The Category 4 storm’s 150 mph winds and a reported total of 15.73 inches of torrential rainfall in Rigolets-Slidell did an estimated $50 billion in damage. In the aftermath, volunteers representing P2E helped pass out thousands of meals, water bottles and pounds of ice at relief sites in St. Tammany Parish. Pacific Peninsula noted in a statement that this was done in partnership with the nonprofit Louisiana Coastal Relief & Recovery.
Such actions that may improve lives in areas in which they do business appear part of a P2E corporate policy. The company says on its website:
“Part of this philosophy involves strengthening communities through our casinos and resorts (e.g., jobs created, taxes paid, etc.), yet also inspiring others to give back. In short, with more than 3,300 employees at our properties nationwide, we believe it is our responsibility to be good citizens and add value to the many communities in which we operate.”
On its site, the company boasts its operating principles “Service, Quality, Community.”
P2E, Opponents Square Off Awaiting December Referendum
Peninsula Pacific Entertainment shuttered its Diamond Jacks Casino in Bossier City in 2020. Considering Slidell a more attractive market, P2E wants to transfer its casino license and build a $325 million casino resort at the Lake Shore Marina.
A Dec. 11 referendum will decide if that can happen. Originally, the referendum was to happen on Nov. 13, but Gov. Jon Bel Edwards ordered a month’s postponement of elections due to the hurricane. With the State Bond Commission’s approval at a Sept. 16 meeting, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board set the new date.
The proposed casino license move has brought conflict, including petitions and lawsuits. One suit contended that a referendum had to be decided by the entire parish and not just St. Tammany/Slidell.
P2E has called the lawsuits “unfounded.” Company spokesperson Jason Harbison even referred to opponents’ efforts as “deception.”
Quality of Living vs. Making a Living?
Some area opposition has centered on morality. Others have argued that a casino would cause the area’s quality of life to deteriorate. That includes contributing to financial troubles, crime increases and addiction.
In contrast, P2E has pointed out that Camelia Bay, the current working name of the proposed casino, will employ around 1,000 full-time casino workers and 1,700 construction workers. P2E has pledged $30 million for construction of a community athletic center adjoining the casino and another $5 million to help fund a ring levee for the town — a project that has taken on new import with Ida’s destruction.
Projections estimate the casino would bring the parish between $7.5 million and $9 million in revenue each year.
Whether P2E’s post-Ida generosity will dampen some of the opposition remains to be seen in December. P2E needs only a simple majority of approving voters to transfer its gambling license and build the casino. Of course, pending approval by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board signing off on the transfer.