Millions of dollars being spent to sway opinion on new Louisiana casino
By Bob Garcia
Whether a casino will be allowed in Slidell may depend on who has the deeper pockets
Oppositions are definitely one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome when it comes to creating a project. However, sometimes with a monetary investment, thoughts could take a different direction. For the first time in 25 years, the parish of St. Tammany will have an up or down vote on casino gaming and it looks like the fight is very divided. A developer intends to build a $325 million casino resort near Slidell, but so far, it faces opposition from religious beliefs, elected officials, and even a business alliance. That’s why big money is being poured into campaigns that may help sway decisions before December 11, election day, rolls around.
It has been reported so far that a battle has been waged in St. Tammany Parish, with billboards, full mailboxes, signs splashed across parish streets, and even a recent spate of television commercials hitting the airwaves. Considered possibly St. Tammany’s most expensive political battle, total spending on the controversial issue could be as high as $3.5 million. Still, Ronnie Jones, former chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, said the campaign’s price tag was not unexpected.
“Nothing about what I see happening in the St. Tammany area surprises me,” Jones said. “if you look at any other state, they are always a turbulent war between developers and citizens opposed to gambling for a variety of reasons.”
Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) has long been selling the idea of placing a casino near Slidell, making it clear that it would create a huge amount of tax revenue, great employment opportunities, and new entertainment options for the North Shore. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if its promotional efforts will bear fruit by the end of next week.