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Tensions are high with one month until casino vote in St. Tammany Parish

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 6:57 PM CST
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SLIDELL (WVUE) - In less than one month, citizens of St. Tammany Parish will vote yes or no for the Camellia Bay Casino Resort. And many have expressed their concerns, feeling scared, upset, and angry.

“It bothers me what they want to do,” said Rick Franzo, president of the Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany Parish group. “I think it’s a destruction of the city and quality of life for the people. They don’t get it.”

Over the last year, residents have made their voices heard at council meetings and to parish leaders.

“This particular casino is not Beau Rivage. It’s not even in the same league. It’s a low-end casino,” expressed Franzo. “The Slidell casino is gonna feed off the trough and hurt people that can’t afford it.” Adding he feels that the casino will drive up crime.

Representatives for the casino are doing the same thing by engaging with communities in St. Tammany.

Election signs are popping up across the north shore reminding residents to vote on December 11, as well as sophisticated marketing mailouts that look like newspapers, all about the casino.

Developers for the project hope these marketing tools will help clear up any misinformation they say is mostly coming from the Mississippi gaming community.

“Some of the misinformation out there is a lot of fear-mongering that the casino that crime rates are going to go up, property values are going to go down, median incomes are going to go down and that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said vice president of development for Camellia Bay Casino Resort David Rittvo.

Rittvo said they’re investing in the marketing but also in the communities leading up to election day. And he said they’re seeing a positive response across the parish.

“We feel really good with the prospects of the election, and we’re going to continue engaging with the community and answer questions and telling them about the great components of the resort,” he said.

But for those who oppose the casino, like Franzo, he isn’t buying it.

“Every day I’m getting a flier in the mail. It’s millions and millions of dollars on fliers. You know what I do with them? I take them and drop them in the garbage.”

Early voting in St. Tammany Parish begins November 27 and the election takes place on December 11.

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