A casino developer hoping to build a $325 million resort in Slidell, La., has stepped in to assist Louisiana in its coastal relief efforts following Hurricane Ida.
Estimates put Hurricane Ida’s damage at $50 billion, making it the sixth most destructive Atlantic hurricane on record. The Category 4 has been deemed responsible for 71 deaths, including 14 in Louisiana.
Volunteers representing Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) recently helped hand out meals at two relief sites in St. Tammany Parish. California-based P2E operates casinos in New York and Iowa, plus gaming parlors in Virginia.
In Louisiana, P2E previously owned and operated DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City. The company permanently closed the property in 2020 during the pandemic.
P2E wants to relocate its Louisiana gaming license from Bossier City to Slidell, the latter being a market the casino group finds more attractive. Parish voters will decide P2E’s fate of its $325 million casino pitch — dubbed Camelia Bay — during the November 13 election.
If a simple majority of St. Tammany Parish voters back the ballot casino question, P2E will be cleared to move forward with its Slidell casino plan. But there are plenty of critics to allowing a gambling establishment to come to the area.
Opponents vary in reason. Religious organizations believe the region should remain free of gambling, an industry they object to on moral grounds. There are also residents who believe a casino would degrade quality of life by increasing crime, financial hardship, and addiction.
Despite its detractors, and being based 1,700 miles away in Los Angeles, P2E volunteering in the Ida recovery demonstrates that the company can be counted on in times of need.
Our volunteers mean the world to us! Between them and our partnership with Louisiana Coastal Relief & Recovery, we’ve provided over 33,000 meals, thousands of water bottles and thousands of pounds of ice to those in need affected by Hurricane Ida,” P2E said.
P2E volunteers were stationed at relief sites in Slidell in Mandeville.
On the casino operator’s corporate webpage, P2E says it is devoted to improving the areas where the company does business.
“Part of this philosophy involves strengthening communities through our casinos and resorts (e.g., jobs created, taxes paid, etc.), yet also inspiring others to give back. In short, with more than 3,300 employees at our properties nationwide, we believe it is our responsibility to be good citizens and add value to the many communities in which we operate,” the company states.
Peninsula Pacific is prepared to quickly demonstrate its pledge to being a community steward should a positive outcome be realized. If parish voters welcome Camelia Bay, the resort upon competition and opening will employ around 1,000 full-time workers.
Along with an abundance of jobs, P2E has promised to spend $30 million to construct a community athletic center adjacent to the Camelia Bay resort site on the Lakeshore Marina.
Peninsula has additionally pledged $5 million to help build a ring levee for the town, an unfunded infrastructure topic that has only grown in importance in wake of Ida.
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