Louisiana Casino Proposal in St. Tammany Parish Dubbed Camellia Bay

Posted on: August 19, 2021, 12:21h. 

Last updated on: August 19, 2021, 01:46h.

The Louisiana casino project targeting Slidell in St. Tammany Parish officially has a name.

Louisiana casino Slidell St. Tammany Camellia Bay
A rendering of Camellia Bay resort and casino. Residents in Louisiana’s St. Tammany Parish will decide the fate of the $325 million project in Slidell this fall. (Image: Peninsula Pacific Entertainment/Casino.org)

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) announced today that should parish voters sign off on the $325 million development during the November 13 election, the gaming firm will move forward with its casino, resort, and marina dubbed Camellia Bay.

Slidell’s nickname is “The Camellia City.” P2E, based in Los Angeles, asked area residents to submit names for its proposed casino complex. The company says it received more than 7,000 suggestions.

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

St. Tammany Parish voters will be confronted with a referendum question during the fall election asking if they wish to lift the ban on commercial gambling that was set in 1996. If a simple majority backs the Camellia Bay resort scheme, P2E will be cleared to move forward.

Budget Balloons

P2E is seeking to relocate its gaming privileges from Bossier City to Slidell. The company permanently closed its DiamondJacks Casino during the pandemic.

Peninsula initially said it would spend $250 million in St. Tammany, should local voters allow the development. That budget has since escalated by $75 million to $325 million.

Area officials said a quarter of a billion dollars might not be enough to achieve the ambitious goals the city and parish desire with the casino resort.

If approved, Camellia Bay’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) would be subject to the state’s 21.5 percent tax on casino income. P2E has agreed to additionally set aside five percent of its casino win for Slidell and St. Tammany Parish.

P2E says the local benefits don’t end there. Along with employing an estimated 1,000 people, the company has pledged to contribute $5 million to the $9 million Slidell ring levee undertaking, and $30 million to create a sports complex adjacent to the casino.

Anticipating Vote

Camellia Bay’s resort is planned for some 100 acres just off Interstate 10 at the Lakeshore Marina.

There are several legal challenges to the November casino vote. One leading piece of litigation argues that the effort violates the Louisiana Constitution, as it asks voters if they wish to authorize casino gambling at a specific site, as opposed to parish-wide.

If the lawsuit doesn’t prevail, some believe the vote will be dictated as to where one lives. Those close to the casino might be more inclined to vote no, while those farther away might vote yes.

“This is typically what’s known as the ‘not in my backyard’ syndrome. They’re not interested in having this casino, whereas 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,” explained Dr. Ed Chervenak, a political science professor at the University of New Orleans.