St. Tammany votes to pass Slidell casino resolution; development still far away

Beginning of a long road, council votes in favor of Slidell casino resolution

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A proposed $250 million casino project near the foot of the twin span in Slidell brought dozens of residents to the St. Tammany Parish Council for a special meeting Monday night.

Peninsula Pacific has proposed a casino entertainment complex for the area east of the I-10 in Oak Harbor interchange and some say it’s just a bad idea.

“Anytime a casino like this comes in it causes significant problems and issues,” said Pastor Casey Stark at Slidell’s First Baptist Church. He says his congregation supports many families who have suffered because of casino gambling, which is currently available 30 minutes away in Mississippi.

“We do marriage counseling all the time and we see people who drive over to Biloxi and Waveland and blow their entire life savings,” Stark said.

Proponents of the project say it could generate 3,000 construction and full-time jobs and millions in revenue for St. Tammany Parish.

“Nothing is etched in stone other than they’ve laid out what they want to do for St. Tammany,” said St. Tammany council chairman Mike Lorino, Jr.

The council voted 11-1 Monday evening to approve a resolution that will allow state lawmakers to then introduce a bill in the legislature putting the casino before a parish-wide referendum. A similar motion failed in St. Tammany 25 years ago.

“While they’re moving forward we will have public meetings as many meetings as you can because it’s vitally important for the people in St Tammany Parish to see it from the top to the bottom,” said Lorino.

Legislators will now draft up a bill that has to pass committees in both houses before being signed by the governor. After the governor signs the bill, the people of St. Tammany will be allowed to vote on whether or not a casino is built in southeast Slidell.

At the meeting, several frustrated residents said they didn’t want a casino in their backyards or in their community. A petition against the project is making its way around.

“Casinos have a long track record of promising diamonds but give dust,” Pastor Stark said. “But prove to be hollow lies.”

Pacific Peninsula also proposed a casino in Tangipahoa Parish three years ago that never made it out of legislature.

Council members and developers made it clear they do not want this casino to be in a community where it is not welcomed.

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