The gaming regulator for the southern American state of Louisiana has reportedly ordered Peninsula Pacific Entertainment to sell off its dormant land-based casino license within 60 days or risk having the certification unilaterally taken away.
According to a Thursday report from The Advocate newspaper, the Virginia-based firm received the license in 2016 at the same time as purchasing the jurisdiction’s now-shuttered DiamondJacks Casino Hotel riverboat venue. Wary of a crowded local market, the operator purportedly later sought permission to relocate this gambling-friendly enterprise some 300 miles southeast to a new development it was looking to build in the small coastal city of Slidell.
However, voters in the destination community subsequently scuppered this plan via a local referendum to reportedly leave Peninsula Pacific Entertainment without a place to utilize its Louisiana casino license. The company is now not keen on re-opening its DiamondJacks Casino Hotel property, which was closed in March of 2020, despite promising to do just that should its relocation proposal be sunk.
Faced with this impasse and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board has reportedly had enough and instructed the Richmond-headquartered company that it will be taking the license away if it is not sold off by April 18. The nine-member regulator, which is led by Ronnie Johns (pictured), purportedly wants the shuttered Bossier City casino to be re-opened despite fears that it might now take millions of dollars to get the floating facility back up to code.
Johns reportedly told The Advocate…
“We stand here today and nothing has been done. I don’t think a blade of grass has been changed at the property. That property could sit vacant for years.”
The newspaper reported that Peninsula Pacific Entertainment is known to have begun secret negotiations approximately two weeks ago regarding its DiamondJacks Casino Hotel venue with Mississippi casino operator Foundation Gaming Group LLC. This later firm already owns the Fitz Tunica Casino and Hotel in addition to the WaterView Casino and Hotel Vicksburg and purportedly has a reputation for rejuvenating distressed properties.
Nevertheless, Smith reportedly disclosed that DiamondJacks Casino Hotel ‘is out of compliance’ with a lapsed certification and now needs to have its air conditioning and plumbing infrastructure repaired before inspectors can even be invited on board. The regulator furthermore purportedly noted that most of the venue’s furnishings and equipment have been removed or sold with the largely empty structure having been the subject of 122 police call-outs over the course of the past year.
Johns reportedly finished by proclaiming that the Louisiana Gaming Control Board has ‘an obligation to the city of Bossier City to secure that property’ and is now hopeful that a new owner will be able to get the shuttered venue back up and running within about two years.