The Developer Behind Camellia Bay Resort Purchased the Diamond Jacks License Along With the Troubled Bossier Property’s Existing Debts
St. TAMMANY PARISH, La. — The Bossier City/Shreveport area has been home to seven of Louisiana’s 15 active gaming licenses. The proliferation of gaming in western Louisiana, which includes the Lake Charles area as well as Shreveport-Bossier, was largely due to Texas’ ban on most forms of gaming. Louisiana investors saw an opportunity to draw visitors from across the state line.
However, when the state of Louisiana commissioned an economic study, they found the Bossier City market was oversaturated and recommended reducing the number of active casinos in the region from seven to five.
The study explained that one license should move to the Monroe area in Northeast Louisiana, and one license should move to the Northshore, to help recapture all the revenue leaking into Mississippi.
In 2015, the Diamond Jacks casino in Bossier, Louisiana, was struggling and falling into bankruptcy. Seeing an opportunity to secure one of the state’s 15 gaming licenses with the plan to relocate the license to a brand new land-based facility on the Northshore, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) purchased the debts of the Diamond Jacks casino and began working toward relocating the license into a more competitive market.
The current owners of the Diamond Jack license make very clear their intent to build an entirely new land-based facility from the ground up.
“Diamond Jacks was not a property we built, created or even ran for very long. It was purchased in distress with hopes of relocating the license and creating a first-class resort like many of the other properties we’ve developed from the ground up.”
When concerns about the spread of COVID-19 caused Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to close all casinos statewide in early 2020, the property remained closed while the developer pursued this land-based opportunity in St. Tammany Parish.
Upon successful passage of the December referendum, the hotel property in Bossier will be marketed for resale, and the developer has also offered to donate the land to Bossier City so that it can be turned into public green space or a new park for the community.
If St. Tammany votes yes in December, Camellia Bay will be a destination resort that would draw in guests who currently drive to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Incidentally, that is also where a good deal of Camellia Bay’s opposition comes from.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast has seen a massive economic resurgence as casino developers have invested heavily in the area. Over $350 million every year is spent at Mississippi casinos by Louisiana residents, Camellia Bay would keep those millions of tax dollars in Louisiana.
The final say belongs to Northshore voters, not Mississippi mudslinging bankrolled by Gulf Coast casinos. A parish-wide referendum will decide the issue, and Biloxi doesn’t get to cast a ballot.