St. Tammany residents will vote on casino in November

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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SLIDELL, La. (WVUE) - In an 8-6 vote by the St. Tammany Parish Council, voters will be allowed to decide if they want a casino complex construction project to move forward.

Developers promise the $325 million casino will bring jobs and money to the Parish. The project includes an outdoor amphitheater and Peninsula Pacific agreed to spend $35 million on a new Slidell-area sports complex.

After a six-hour debate late into Wednesday night, the people of St. Tammany feel like the parish is putting the cart before the horse.

The council listened to citizens on both sides of the debate; either table the vote for later in order to learn more and have time to work on an economic impact study, or pass the referendum and put it on the Nov. 13 ballot.

Many feel it’s unfair because the people haven’t voted on the transfer of the gaming license from Bossier Parish to St. Tammany which is a “no” to gambling parish.

A parish-wide vote is needed to change that no to a yes.

Many citizens are against the casino saying it will only enable gambling addiction and human trafficking, among other crime concerns. Some see the benefits of a casino noting economic development, job creation, and more but say it should be up to the public to vote and make that decision on putting a casino in their community.

I’m going to be affected by a casino being the heart of Slidell,” one resident said. I believe that everybody is doing their homework and I am very passionate about this. I just can’t agree with bringing something at the cost of human lives.

Another resident said, “I was going to go on about the fact that I am asking this council to go ahead and table the measure not because we are opposed to a vote, but the thing is there is something to be said for having all the information.”

Hours before the meeting, Judge John Keller denied the request for the temporary restraining order blocking the vote and the election.

An attorney involved in litigation against the proposed Slidell casino says he’s not giving up his legal fight.

Chuck Branton says the parish-wide vote on the casino approved by the St. Tammany Council is in violation of the state constitution and he says he will be pursuing a preliminary injunction against a referendum being conducted.

Branton says state law requires a straight up or down vote on a casino before any site-specific vote.

The parish council voted to put a referendum on the Nov. 13 ballot.

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