Possibility of boat casino in St. Tammany sparks concern on social media
ST. TAMMANY- The possibility of a Northshore based casino kick-starts a fiery discussion after The St. Tammany Farmer posted a public notice on Facebook Wednesday afternoon.
The notice ran in the weekly paper on Feb. 26, stating that a bill may be filed in the upcoming legislative session to allow riverboat gaming in St. Tammany Parish, contingent on a referendum.
Representative Bob Owen, a Republican elected to the Slidell-area House District 76 seat in October, said he will do so only if he feels there is overwhelming public support. One lawmaker confirmed that he's been approached by a lobbyist about sponsoring such a bill.
The notice released in the newspaper warns readers of the intention of introducing the bill.
The notice reads, "Public notice is hereby given that there may be introduced at the session of Legislature to be convened on March 9, 2020, a bill relative to waterways on which riverboat gaming is allowed; to add certain portions of Lake Pontchartrain or other waterways located in St. Tammany Parish to the list of such waterways; to provide that the inclusion of these waterways in the list of waterways on which riverboat gaming can occur is not effective unless approved by the voters of St. Tammany Parish at an election called for that purpose; and to provide related matters."
The legal notice started a firestorm on social media after former state representative Reid Falconer, who ran for the Senate District 11 seat in the fall, posted a photo of it to his Facebook page. When commenters asked who was behind the notice, he replied, "Follow the money" and posted a link to the campaign finance report of Sen. Patrick McMath, the candidate who beat Falconer for the Senate seat, which covers central and western St. Tammany and part of Tangipahoa Parish.
Current State Representative, Richard Nelson, also posted to his Facebook page about the notice.
"This notice was advertised by a lobbyist in order to preserve the ability for a bill to be brought this legislative session allowing the voters of St. Tammany to authorize a riverboat casino. The proposed site is in Slidell somewhere in the area of the Harbor Center. While the proposal is being considered by some Slidell-area officials, no bill has been filed to actually start the process. Right now, I am not aware of any plans to file a bill."
Nelson concluded the post by reassuring concerned locals that he would keep them updated throughout the process.