BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Executive Director of the Louisiana Casino Association says he believes the Shreveport-Bossier market can support the reopening of the area’s sixth casino, but whether the owner of the DiamondJacks chooses to do that remains to be seen.
“It did have six boats prior to the pandemic,” Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty said Monday. “But obviously, less competition changes the landscape quite a bit.”
DiamondJacks has been shut down since May 2020, when it announced it would not reopen after pandemic restrictions eased. In October, the casino laid off 349 employees and held a liquidation sale, unloading everything from commercial kitchen and laundry equipment to flat-screen TVs and stage lights.
Los Angeles-based Peninsula Pacific Entertainment – also known as P2E – wanted to move the boat’s license and berth to a more profitable location in St. Tammany Parish, where the casino market is less saturated. But voters in that parish on Saturday rejected a referendum on allowing casino gaming at the site of a proposed $325 million casino and marina in Slidell on the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board stipulated in its approval of relocating the license that P2E would be required to resume gambling operations in Bossier City within 60 days if the referendum failed.
Alternatively, P2E could give up the license. Either way, Duty says the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will not want the license, one of 15 for riverboats in the state, sitting unused for much longer.
“We cannot let the license stay dormant,” said Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns. “We have an obligation to the state and local government to put that license back into commerce and that is our intention, whether it be DiamondJacks or somebody else, we absolutely want to put that license back into commerce.”
“The problem is if you’ve got a market that has a sufficient number of casinos to service customer demand and you want to move a license, where do you move it? Because Louisiana has limitations on that, too. It’s got to be in an approved parish for riverboat gaming and it has to be on an approved waterway.”
If P2E chooses to keep the license and resume gambling operations in Bossier City, they will have to get the property back in line with state regulations before they can reopen.
“They will work with state regulators to demonstrate their suitability to reopen, that they have the equipment in place, the people in place, they have a process in place, before the regulators will give their consent for them to resume operations in that location.”
Johns said if they do not reopen, the board has the right to ask them to relinquish the license back to the state.
“I hope it does not come to that. I hope DiamondJacks makes a commitment to not only reopen, but to upgrade the facility in Bossier City.”