The proposed new $325 million casino by Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), announced earlier this year to be built in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, has a name: Camellia Bay Resort and Casino.
The developer announced the decision Thursday, August 19 after evaluating over 7,000 of suggestions. Kimberly Frady, the person who submitted the chosen name, received a check for $5,000.
The name pays tribute to the area, with camellias set to feature in landscaping the property. Moreover, the nickname has been reported as doing well in focus groups.
The casino resort is expected to be built on a waterfront site near Slidell, with the intention to begin operations in early-to-mid 2023.
Upon announcement early 2021, the proposed development was revealed to include a 250-room hotel, which would cover about 50 acres, and the construction is expected to bring nearly 1,700 jobs, according to the company, and 1,900 jobs during operation.
P2E updated its proposal from an initial draft of $250 million to current $325 million estimated value earlier this week, adding a convention space, outdoor amphitheater, and other upgrades, reports WDSU News.
However, the company still has several hurdles to clear first: St. Tammany voters are set to approve or deny the casino on a Nov. 13 referendum, as the proposal has so far been met with opposition and support in equal measures.
St. Tammany Parish residents would have to vote to undo a 1996 referendum in which casino and video poker were rejected. However, public sentiment towards gaming may have changed, as last November St. Tammany voted 67% in favor of sports betting.
Asking the public to choose a name for the project was part of the group’s strategy to involve the residents, along with meetings in which St. Tammanians were asked about other features such as restaurants and construction style.
One of the cited reasons in favor of the project includes the opportunity to drive economic development for the parish, as a total of 5% gaming revenue would go toward local governments.
“It is really important to us, and it’s something I think our community needs and deserves,” said state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, a Slidell Republican who drafted legislation to advance the project.
Should approval be secured in November, a groundbreaking could come as early as December. The project is expected to attract St. Tammany gamblers who currently take their money to the casinos on the Mississippi coast.
Estimated figures reported earlier this year project about $7.5 million annually in gaming revenue. Overall, the casino and resort could generate about $10 million per year in tax revenue for local government.