Louisiana Parish Finalizes Rev-Share Agreement

A proposed $325 million casino in Slidell, Louisiana would give a portion of revenues to local governments, nonprofits and other local entities under a new agreement. Voters will decide on the casino in November.

The board of directors of the St. Tammany Parish Development District in Louisiana recently announced how revenue from a proposed $325 million casino resort would be distributed.

California-based developer Pacific Peninsula Entertainment will be required to share 5 percent of revenue with local governments, nonprofits and other entities. PPE officials said that could total $7.5 million to $9 million annually. P2E also has pledged $35 million for a sports complex in eastern St. Tammany Parish.

St. Tammany Parish government would receive the largest share of revenue at 37.5 percent, or $2.8 million to $3.4 million annually. Parish Council Chair Mike Lorino said, “It’s not enough to balance the budget, but it’s additional revenue nonetheless.” The parish also must spend 12.5 percent of its share on projects in the St. Tammany Parish Gaming and Entertainment Project Zone, including the unincorporated area around Slidell. The city of Slidell would receive 15 percent of the local money, according to the agreement.

St. Tammany Parish Development District Chief Executive Officer Chris Masingill said 5 percent is the highest share of net gaming revenue any casino every has agreed to pay in Louisiana, above and beyond the 26 percent casinos must pay the state. Masingill noted the agreement has “raised the bar for other casinos.”

St. Tammany Parish voters will determine if the casino becomes a reality at the ballot box on November 13. Some casino opponents, including the pastors and parishioners from churches in eastern St. Tammany, have said it’s not fair for the entire parish to vote on the development near Slidell that would not adversely impact west-side residents. In response, Lorino noted state law requires a parish-wide vote and the new revenue sharing agreement actually calls for a greater share for eastern St. Tammany because the Slidell area will have “the majority of the action,” he said. Masingill added eastern St. Tammany will benefit from most of the “community reinvestment.”

In related news, Peninsula Pacific officials announced additions to the proposed casino have boosted its investment by $75 million to $325 million. Changes include more convention and meeting space, expanded entertainment options and outdoor upgrades, pushing the total cost from the previously announced $250 million to $325 million,

Lorino said the council has scheduled a special meeting on Wednesday, June 30 to discuss placing a voter referendum for the casino on the November 13 ballot. If approved, it would undo a 1996 ban on casinos in St. Tammany parish. Lorino said the public is invited to attend and ask questions about the proposed casino.

If the council votes to place the referendum on the ballot, the proposal would go before the state Gaming Control Board for provisional approval to move P2E’s gaming license from Bossier city, where it operated the now closed riverboat DiamondJacks Casino and Resort, to St. Tammany Parish. If voters do approve the casino, officials said ground would be broken before the end of the year and the facility would open in the first quarter of 2023.

Besides financial commitments, P2E has pledged to employ 750 to 1,000 workers within three years, with half residing in St. Tammany.