A scheduled Louisiana Senate committee hearing on a bill allowing a Los Angeles company to transfer its Bossier City casino license to St. Tammany Parish, where it wants to build a new gambling venue, was postponed because one of the legislators expected to vote yes had a fever.
The Senate Finance Committee was supposed to consider Senate Bill 213, sponsored by Senator Sharon Hewitt, on Monday. However, observers told local media that Senator Mike Fesi, who was expected to vote in favor of the bill, was absent.
Sen. Hewitt said she hopes the vote, when it takes place, will be closed. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed his law by a narrow margin in a vote of 4-3 In the past week. Senator Gary Smith, the husband of a lobbyist hired to help the bill pass the Legislature, cast a tiebreaker vote to remove the measure from the Judiciary Committee.
Senate President Page Cortez decided that Bill 213 should also be approved by the Finance Committee before being presented to the full Senate for a vote. The bill’s lead sponsor said you may have to wait at least a week before another Finance Committee hearing is scheduled.
A double bill introduced in the House by Representative Mary DuBuisson could also be heard in a House committee sometime next week.
What does the law require?
If Bill 213 (or its equivalent in the House of Representatives) survives all obstacles in the Legislature, it would allow Los Angeles-based Pacific Peninsula Entertainment, P2E, to move your existing casino license to Slidell, a city on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain in St. Tammany Parish.
P2E previously operated DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City, which it bought about six years ago. The company announced in May 2020 that the site would be closed permanently, citing the “sudden and unpredictable market conditions that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic. ” The riverboat facility was the worst performing casino in the crowded Shreveport / Bossier City market.
The company is now looking to use its vacant casino license to build a $ 250 million casino in Slidell that would create hundreds of jobs for area residents and keep Louisiana’s gambling money in the state, as many local players now frequent casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
If approved, the Slidell casino complex will feature family-oriented attractions like a lazy river and waterslide and a complex pool geared toward adult visitors, among other amenities.
Senator Hewitt’s bill would also authorize St. Tammany Parish to hold a local referendum next October to reverse a 1996 public vote against the casino expansion. The legislative text would further add the planned location for P2E’s proposed casino to the approved waterways list of a 1991 law authorizing gambling on riverboats.
In 2018, Louisiana lawmakers allowed river casinos to move to the mainland, but a new gambling venue is required to be located on an approved waterway.
Fountain: Effort to relocate casino to Slidell stalls temporarily; Senator Predicts Closed Vote, NOLA.com, April 26, 2021