Posted on: December 16, 2022, 11:18h.
Last updated on: December 16, 2022, 12:09h.
The shuttered Diamond Jacks Casino in Bossier City, La., has officially been sold to Foundation Gaming. The Mississippi-based gaming firm owns and operates the Fitz Tunica Casino & Hotel and WaterView Casino & Hotel in Vicksburg.
Foundation in May 2022 agreed to acquire the former Diamond Jacks Casino from Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) for an undisclosed sum. P2E closed the Louisiana riverboat during the pandemic.
P2E tried to relocate the gaming license to Slidell, north of New Orleans, through a new $325 million casino development called Camellia Bay Resort. But local voters in the St. Tammany Parish rejected the scheme. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) approved the Diamond Jacks sale during its meeting on Thursday.
This is a day we’ve been waiting for a long time,” said LGCB Chair Ronnie Johns. “Foundation has an impressive plan.”
Foundation, unlike P2E, is optimistic regarding the future of Bossier City’s gaming industry. While Peninsula Pacific said the Shreveport-Bossier City market had become oversaturated, Foundation is ready to inject nearly $200 million into updating the former riverboat into a land-based resort.
Casino Moving Ashore
In response to recent hurricanes and severe river flooding, Louisiana lawmakers in 2018 passed legislation that allowed the state’s riverboat casinos to move inland. The only requirement is that new casino structures remain within 1,200 feet of their original barges.
Foundation Gaming plans to take advantage of the inland opportunity. The nearly $200 million renovation budget, the company says, will result in an entirely new casino structure built above land adjacent to the current Diamond Jacks hotel building. Foundation says the new casino will measure 47,000 square feet and feature slot machines, table games, and a sportsbook.
“We’ve put together what we believe will be a great project for the market and for the community,” commented Greg Guida, Foundation’s co-chief executive officer.
Foundation plans to renovate each of the property’s 405 hotel guestrooms. The investment additionally includes a 300-seat live entertainment venue, plus at least three new restaurants, two retail shops, and a spa and pool complex.
The project will also return jobs and tax dollars to Bossier City. At the end of 2019, Diamond Jacks employed 338 people. Foundation says it will rename the property once the renovation project is complete, which is expected in 2024.
State Bids P2E Adieu
Louisiana gaming regulators don’t believe Peninsula Pacific ever had much intent in operating a casino in Bossier City. Board officials instead think the Los Angeles-based gaming firm acquired Diamond Jacks in 2016 with the goal of relocating the state gaming license to a more attractive market.
Peninsula bought the property to go to St. Tammany. When that didn’t work out, they bailed,” Johns opined.
The Shreveport-Bossier City casino market currently consists of Boomtown Bossier City Casino, Horseshoe Bossier City Casino & Hotel, Louisiana Downs Casino & Racetrack, Margaritaville Resort Casino, Bally’s Shreveport Casino & Hotel, and Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino.
Though it had the distinction of being the oldest casino in Shreveport-Bossier City, Diamond Jacks was the smallest boat in the Red River before its closing. The casino won just $35.1 million during the state’s 2018-19 fiscal year, the lowest haul of the bunch.
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