St. Tammany Casino Would Have ‘Moderately Positive’ Regional Impact, Study Finds

Posted on: October 27, 2021, 11:04h. 

Last updated on: October 27, 2021, 03:02h.

If the $329 million St. Tammany casino resort proposal is built in Slidell, La., an economic study concludes that the destination would have a “moderately positive” impact on the region.

St. Tammany casino Slidell Louisiana Camellia Bay
Camella Bay, the proposed casino for St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana, would not negatively affect the Slidell area. That’s according to an economic review of the planned commercial gaming project. (Image: City of Slidell)

The St. Tammany Corporation, which assists businesses with their economic developments in the Louisiana parish, commissioned the casino review. That was done in order to evaluate the potential impacts that such a complex would have on Slidell. Performed by the New Orleans-based Convergence Strategy Group, the analysts came to the conclusion that Camellia Bay Resort, as the project is known, would not negatively affect Slidell or St. Tammany as a whole.

Based on our independent research, analyses, and extensive review of scholarly studies, we expect the Slidell casino resort will have a moderately positive to negligible impact on surrounding businesses,” the 45-page report stated in its summary of findings.

Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) is asking St. Tammany Parish voters to allow the company to relocate its Bossier City casino license that it previously used to operate DiamondJacks to Slidell. P2E seeks to build Camellia Bay on the Lakeshore Marina on the eastern edge of Lake Pontchartrain.

Property Fluctuations

A major concern some residents in the Lakeshore Marina have regarding a casino being built there is how such a resort might affect their home’s value. Numerous studies over the decades have linked casino gambling to lower property values. But Convergence said that is no longer the case.

Studies citing property value declines are from the 1990s, analyzing data from the early casino communities of Atlantic City, Nevada, and early riverboats,” the St. Tammany casino report explained. More recent negative property value projections due to the arrival of a casino have also been flawed.

Convergence points to a National Association of Realtors forecast in 2013 that predicted property values in Springfield, Ma., would decline 4.6 percent due to MGM Resorts building a nearly $1 billion casino. But in reality, property values in the Massachusetts city have appreciated more than 21 percent.

Along with perhaps better property values, Convergence reports that added jobs could improve the quality of life for certain residents.

“For some, living proximate to a gaming resort could mean a job opportunity that cuts commuting time down considerably or raises income,” the study explained.

However, the researchers conceded that there are some negatives associated with a new casino.

“For others, living proximate to a casino resort can be unappealing due to issues ranging from traffic to lighting or the blocking of views,” the report continued. “The data would suggest from a residential real estate standpoint that these pros and cons balance each other out.”

Sweetening the Deal

Southern Louisiana is one of the most hurricane-prone areas in the United States. It was just in late August that Hurricane Ida ravaged the area and caused 12 deaths in the state and billions of dollars in damage.

With St. Tammany’s support of their Camellia Bay casino, P2E has pledged to donate $5 million to help Slidell construct its proposed $9 million ring levee. The casino firm has also committed $30 million to build a sports and entertainment complex near the resort.

As for those potential better jobs referenced in the economic review, P2E says Camellia Bay would need around 1,000 full-time employees to operate the property. The company says that the average pay, including salary and benefits, would be $45,000.

In 2019, the US Census Bureau says the average worker in the parish made $34,658.