Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman talks DiamondJacks closing

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This story has been updated with a statement from DiamondJacks.

DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City is permanently closing due to business circumstances caused by COVID-19, according to a press release. Source: (KSLA)

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City is permanently closing due to business circumstances caused by COVID-19, according to a press release.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones said they aren't sure what the casino's ownership has planned moving forward.

"Right now, we don't know what their plans are, they have not reached out to us yet," he said. "(...)but at the appropriate time, we will reach out to ownership, set up a series of meetings and try and figure out what their intentions are."

Based on the 2018 revenue and taxes, the Spectrum Gaming Group estimated moving DiamondJacks to Northeast Louisiana could generate up to $60 million in gross gaming revenue. That's nearly $22 million more than what it made in Bossier City, according to the same analysis.

The study also said it would bring in almost $13 million from state gaming tax, more than a $4 million difference.

KNOE reached out to DiamondJacks to ask what their plans are moving forward.

"There are no plans to reopen DiamondJacks, though we can share that we love the people and business community in Louisiana. We are happy to consider any new development opportunities that would align with our values of providing guests with outstanding service and exceptional quality. If that is possible in the future, we would love to come back," said Diana Thornton, Vice President of Finance at DiamondJacks.

Jones said, if the owner did end up wanting to relocate, the process would involve going through the local parish, and then possibly legislative authority, depending on which waterway it would be on.

"Eventually, it would end up back before the Gaming Control Board, though that's one of the latter steps of the process. Just in terms of timing, I would say something like this, probably, is an 18-month to two-year process."

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley said, hypothetically if someone was interested in bringing a casino to the parish, they would want community feedback before moving forward. That would mean talking to residents, business leaders, local elected officials, and the Chambers of Commerce.

"We would like to visit with everyone and get a lot of input on what their feelings are and how this could be approached," he said.

Smiley emphasized that, to date, they had not had anyone contact them about possibly bringing a casino to the area.

KNOE reached out to the rest of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury to ask if they would be for or against a casino in the parish if it were an option.

District A juror Scotty Robinson said:

"If there was a group that was able to get the license and move that casino somewhere, that group would have to come to the jury and the jury would have the option to send that decision to the voters of the parish."

Robinson said he would vote to send the decision to the voters.

District B juror Jack Clampit said:

"I would have grave reservations. Our market for gaming isn’t that large. The fact DiamondJacks couldn’t make it in a larger market such as the Shreveport area is concerning."

District C juror Larry Bratton said:

"Until we see what impact opening back up makes on certain business aspects it is difficult to commit one direction or the other. Currently, we are seeing CEOs of large corporations not giving future investment guidance in their business lines indicating this is a cautious time in making economic decisions."

District D juror Michael Thompson and District F juror Lonnie Hudson did not respond at the time of writing.