To be discussed Jan. 20

Louisiana: DiamondJacks casino requests a reopening deadline extension

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DiamondJacks Casino and Resort, which has remained closed since the pandemic started in 2020, has requested an extension on the amount of time the Bossier City facility has to reopen its doors. Louisiana Gaming Control Board chairman, Ronnie Johns stated the request has not yet been approved by the board, and that the matter will be discussed at the next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, January 20. 

Johns said the riverboat casino will present its reopening plan on February 17. The extension will likely be for about a month, and Johns has stated that he will recommend the board to approve the extension at the upcoming meeting, as he recognized how several casinos have had a hard time hiring people lately, which is the generalized problem in the industry at the moment. 

“It is my belief that DiamondJacks be given every opportunity to present the Board a realistic plan or reopening with a larger, nicer, and overall better facility than what is there now,” Johns told KSLA on Wednesday.

DiamondJacks’ original reopening date was set for February 9, after its closure in May 2020, as the property awaited for COVID-19 restrictions to ease. 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 (P2E) wanted to move the boat’s license and pursue a more profitable location in St. Tammany Parish, where the casino market is less saturated. 

However, voters in that parish 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 Pontchartrain.  

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.

Johns claims that P2E applied in December for its sports betting license. “I took that as a good sign that they have every intention of using the license,” he explained.

Johns expressed back then that the intention was that whether it was DiamondJacks or some other entity take the license, as the Control Board wanted it back into commerce.  

Louisiana’s 2018 state law allows riverboat casinos to move out of the water, provided they stay within 1,200 feet of their berths and provide economic development to the community. Johns expects that DiamondJacks will do so.

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