Riverboat gambling considered for rural Tangipahoa River
HAMMOND – It could be an unprecedented boom for the usually quiet Tangipahoa Parish – a riverboat casino seconds from a major interstate.
It's a reality gaming company Peninsula Pacific is toying with. The company could move its license from a struggling riverboat in the Shreveport area to the Tangipahoa River at the Hwy. 445 exit on I-12.
Teasing its idea in a news release Friday, Peninsula Pacific said it was evaluating the possibility of closing the Bossier Parish operation and having the license transferred to a future operation on the Tangipahoa River. The move would have to pass regulatory hurdles on all levels of government – local and state – but those with knowledge of the idea are optimistic.
Casino licenses are sacred in Louisiana and the state only grants a few for riverboat casino operations.
"Because of the limited number of gaming licenses available in Louisiana, Peninsula Pacific understands that each license is truly a valuable asset to the state,” Brent Stevens, manager of Peninsula Pacific, said in a statement Friday.
“Louisianans deserve the best and we look forward to creating a destination that is both fun, successful and rewarding to the community and the state. In either of these two locations, we will be able to create economic development and drive revenue into critical public sectors like infrastructure, education and quality of life.”
There is “...an opportunity to reap the benefits for years to come,” Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller said in a separate statement.
A riverboat casino was approved by voters in Tangipahoa Parish more than twenty years ago, but no license or operation was ever secured.
The company's relocation to Tangipahoa would be a $100 million investment, sources told WBRZ.
“This project deserves our interest and attention. A quality project like this could also provide new, much-needed revenue for our schools, infrastructure, and drainage programs,” Miller said.
The casino wants to explore the idea of locating a gaming operation along the Tangipahoa River at the Robert exit of I-12, a rural area in Tangipahoa Parish but near the parish line with St. Tammany.
The casino would also include a resort-style facility, sources told WBRZ.
State lawmakers are expected to see proposals introduced at the next legislative session dealing with the plan.
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