Only in Louisiana: Why Diamond Jacks Casino Has to Reopen So It Can Close Again
It took a lengthy conversation with Louisiana's Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns to clarify the situation. A state of affairs so unusual that when you say it out loud, it seems absolutely unbelievable.
Before Bossier City's Diamond Jacks Casino can move to another market in the state, the have to reopen. In other words - and remember to say this out loud - Diamond Jacks has to reopen so they can close again.
How We Got Here
First, a bit of history. Diamond Jacks, owned by parent company Peninsula Pacific, closed in May of 2020. But the company continued to hold the gaming license granted to them by the state. And their post-closing plan? To reopen at a new location in south Louisiana.
But the plan didn't exactly go as smoothly as hoped. Their first option, to move to a location on the Tangipahoa River, was killed by the state senate. Then, their Plan B, a new casino in Slidell, was turned down by St. Tammany Parish voters in December of last year.
So, Peninsula Pacific found themselves in an odd situation, holding a casino license they can't sell (it belongs to the state, remember), but plans to move to a new location shot down twice.
And Louisiana Rules and Regulations Don't Help
Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana, as any government would, wants its money. And that inactive casino license isn't putting any cash in the state's coffers. So the Gaming Control Board tells Peninsula Pacific, reopen Diamond Jack's in Bossier or lose forfeit your license back to the state.
At this point, Peninsula Pacific just wants to be done with Louisiana. But - and it's big one - according to the state's rules, they can't sell the license - it's not theirs, remember - but they can sell an existing and open casino and the license that goes along with it.
You Have to Be Open...So You Can Close
Got it? Peninsula Pacific has to reopen Diamond Jacks so they can sell the physical operation so that a new company can come in and close it to move it to a new location.
And what kind of business, looking at at Peninsula Pacific's Louisiana experience, would want any part of this state's gaming industry?
Once again, as in so many things in the state, our rules, our regulations and our government's thirst for money, has all but killed any chance Peninsula Pacific - or any other gaming company - has to succeed.
Sadly, it's the Louisiana thing to do.