BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After months of delays and a final ultimatum to work out the details of a possible sale or give up its license, a deal is in the works for the sale of the DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City to a Mississippi-based company that buys and refurbishes distressed casino properties.
According to Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) has filed a petition with the board for a buy-sell agreement with Foundation Gaming.
This, Johns says, brings P2E into compliance with what the board mandated two months ago. The Los Angeles-based company had until the board’s April 18 meeting to work out a possible sale.
“Approximately 60 days ago, we passed a resolution by this board giving DiamondJacks, P2E 60 days to file a petition for transfer of ownership of that property up in Bossier City,” Johns said during Monday’s meeting in Baton Rouge.
“DiamondJacks did file the petition timely. It’s in good order. We’re very pleased as to the work they’ve put forward to it. As you know, it has been public knowledge that they are attempting to sell their property to Foundation Gaming, based out of Mississippi. I’m not at this time able to discuss the petition that they did file this week, but I will tell you that it’s absolutely in order and it’s exactly what the board asked them to do.”
DiamondJacks has been shut down since May 2020, when P2E announced it would not reopen after pandemic restrictions eased. In October, the casino laid off 349 employees and held a liquidation sale, unloading everything from commercial kitchen and laundry equipment to flat-screen TVs and stage lights.
The company planned to move its license to St. Tammany Parish, where it planned to develop a $325 million casino and marina in Slidell, but voters rejected a referendum in December of 2021 that would have allowed the move.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s approval of the license relocation hinged on voter approval of that referendum, stipulating that gaming operations would have to resume in Bossier City within 60 days if voters rejected it.
P2E originally had until Feb. 9 to resume gaming operations at the Bossier City property or relinquish its license, but asked for and received an extension in January to have more time to prepare a detailed reopening plan before the board on Feb. 17. But when that day came, P2E asked for still more time to work out the details of a possible sale to Foundation Gaming.
In spite of those concerns, the board reluctantly gave the owners of DiamondJacks another extension. P2E had until April 18 to work out a sale or give up their gaming license. But not before members of the state gaming board made clear their frustration with the extended delays.
Now that a deal appears to be in the works, it could still take an estimated two to three years to approve new buyers and get a firm date for reopening, meaning the dilapidated property could remain vacant for some time.
“We’re trying to expedite it as quickly as we can,” Johns said Monday. “That license has been out of commerce for two years now. We want to get it up and running as quickly as possible. I know state police and the attorney general’s office will make a real effort to get that done quickly, but in reality, it will take a few months to do.”