St. Tammany Parish Louisiana Casino Named Camellia Bay

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The Louisiana resort and casino project targeting Slidell in St. Tammany Parish now has a name.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) yesterday announced that should parish residents sign off on the $325 million development in the November 13 election, the gaming company will continue with its resort, casino, and marina named Camellia Bay.

Slidell’s official nickname is “The Camellia City.” Los Angel Based P2E asked area residents to submit names for its proposed casino unit. The firm says it received over 7,000 suggestions.

Kimberly Frady, a nurse at the Slidell Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, secured a $5,000 check from Peninsula Pacific for her winning submission. She was one among the 100 people who recommended the Camellia Bay name, which led to a drawing for the prize.

During the fall election, St. Tammany Parish residents will be encountered by a referendum question asking whether they want to lift the ban on commercial sports betting ordered in 1996. If a vast majority supports the Camellia Bay casino project, P2E will be allowed to make headways.

Budget Balloons

P2E is seeking to move its gaming operations from Bossier to Slidell. The firm permanently shut down its DiamondJacks Casino during the COVID-19 pandemic. Peninsula initially said it would invest $250 million in St. Tammy should local voters pass the project. The budget has since risen by $75 million to $325 million.

Area representatives said a quarter of a billion-dollar might not be sufficient to attain the city and parish’s visionary goals with the casino resort.

If accepted, Camellia Bay’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) would be dependent on the state’s 21.5% tax on casino income. P2E has agreed to additionally put aside 5% of its casino collection for Slidell and St. Tammy Parish.
P2E says the local advantages don’t end there. Apart from employing an estimated 1,000 individuals, the firm has pledged to donate $5 million to the $9 million Slidell ring levee project and $30 million to build a sports system next to the casino.

Anticipating vote

Camellia Bay’s casino is mapped up for some 100 acres outside Interstate 10 at the Lakeshore Marina.

There are, however, some legal challenges to the November casino vote. One leading part of the lawsuit claims that the effort violates the Louisiana Constitution since it asks residents whether they wish to allow casino sports betting at a specific venue instead of parish-wide.

If the litigation doesn’t win, some believe the vote will be decided based on where one lives. Those near the casino might be more influenced to vote no, while those far away might vote yes.

“This is what is typically known as the, not in my backyard syndrome. Residents are not interested in having this casino; on the contrary, residents elsewhere would like to see that revenue generated and are not concerned about the quality of life because the casino is not in their neighborhood.” A political science professor at the New Orleans university, Dr. Ed Chervenak, explained.

Litigation similar

St. Tammany Parish and its assembly are named as accused in each of the two litigations.

The first lawsuit, filed by voter Rev. John Raymond and his attorney Josh Clayton, claims that the parish strayed in approving referendum acts. His lawsuit claims that the parish west side is civilized to support the proceeding without enduring the same possible issues with a casino that the eastern part will experience.

The second litigation sought to stop the St. Tammany Assembly from voting on the referendum during its special June 30 sitting. The case, however, failed. The assembly voted eight against six to move the casino question before residents for the November referendum.