Slidell Casino Voting Begins Tomorrow in Louisiana’s St. Tammany Parish
Posted on: November 26, 2021, 09:21h.
Last updated on: November 26, 2021, 03:48h.
Voting on the proposed Slidell casino on the Lakeshore Marina just east of I-10 begins on Saturday, Nov. 27. But the outcome of the ballot referendum could ultimately be decided in court.
Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) is hyping the potential benefits of St. Tammany Parish residents opting to lift the region’s prohibition on commercial casino gambling. The casino operator, which is seeking permission to relocate its Louisiana gaming license from Bossier City to Slidell, says it will be a community partner in a variety of ways. Most critically, it estimates $7.5 million to $9 million annually in local tax revenue generation.
The parish’s election is set for December 11, but early voting commences tomorrow morning at 8:30 am local time. Parish residents wishing to cast their vote on the casino issue can do so through Election Day on Dec. 11 at three designated polling centers from 8:30 am until 6:00 pm daily, with Sundays excluded.
The early voting locations are the St. Tammany Justice Center in Covington, the St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers in Mandeville, and the Towers Building in Slidell.
Single Ballot Issue
Louisiana’s December 11 election was originally set for November 13 but was delayed by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) because of Hurricane Ida.
In St. Tammany, parish voters are only being asked one question — the casino matter. If a simple majority backs the referendum to end the parish’s ban on gambling, P2E will move closer to receiving permission to build its proposed $325 million Camellia Bay Resort adjacent to The Blind Tiger restaurant in Slidell.
But a legal challenge remains pending in Louisiana’s 22nd Judicial District Court. A lawsuit is challenging whether the state Constitution allows parishes to ask voters to legalize commercial gambling in a single site instead of parish-wide. A judge is set to hear arguments on the topic a week from today.
But with voting set to begin, P2E is spending heavily to convince parish voters to back the casino initiative. Parish voters are being bombarded with television commercials, mailers, billboards, and social media spots hyping why the Slidell casino should be authorized.
There are also opponents to the P2E pitch, and they, too, are trying to get out their opinion as to why the resort should be rejected. The anti-gaming campaign is predominantly led by religious leaders in the area, who argue casino gambling will deliver the parish a net-negative impact.
Slidell’s Police Chief Randy Fandal and Sheriff Randy Smith have both voiced their opposition to the casino.
“We don’t want an adverse criminal element coming into Slidell,” Fandal said in June.
Casino Odds Unknown
There hasn’t been an official poll conducted on pre-vote support for the Slidell casino. And according to Jeremy Alford, publisher of LAPolitics.com, that makes it rather difficult to forecast an outcome on the gaming referendum.
Referendums are difficult to handicap. One side you have advocates kind of pushing an economic development message and benefits to the community,” Alford told WWL Radio this week. “On the other side, you have some folks who have some very, very serious concerns about crime.”
There are approximately 188,000 registered voters in St. Tammany Parish. The vast majority — nearly 82 percent — identify as white. The parish is heavily Republican.
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