What Is Going On With Slidell’s Potential Casino Vote?

  • A plan to get a new casino in Slidell, La. has run into a legal snag.
  • A judge is now required to hear a legal challenge to the ballot measure legalizing it.
  • Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday.

SLIDELL, La. - A plan to get a new casino on the ground in Slidell, Louisiana ran into problems when the First Circuit Court in Baton Rouge ruled that a ballot measure might not be an appropriate way to do so.

The question at issue in the court is related to the legality of a ballot measure asking for legalization in one area as opposed to over the whole parish.

This all stems from the way the ballot question is worded:

“Shall gaming operations authorized by the Louisiana Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Control Act be authorized in St. Tammany Parish…along portions of Lake Pontchartrain that are part of the Lakeshore Marina, located south and east of Interstate 10, Exit 261?”

The problem seems to be the bit about “along portions of Lake Pontchartrain that are part of the Lakeshore Marina”.

This is potentially too specific about the gambling location, in the eyes of the court, which ruled that a legal challenge to the measure along these lines should proceed before the vote, which is scheduled to take place on Dec. 11, 2021.

Can This Happen Fast Enough?

This presents a problem - Dec. 11 is not so far away, and the court only just ruled that the legal challenge should be heard before the vote. The proceedings, ideally, will be complete before the vote, and it’s unclear what will happen if they are not.

A previous ruling allowed the vote to proceed without the challenge being heard first, but that ruling was given in October, and this seems to supersede it.

According to WDSU, the question will remain on the ballot for early voting, which began on Saturday.

There will be two further court dates. On Tuesday, there will be motions for summary judgment, and on Friday, if those motions are not granted, there will be further hearings that will determine whether or not it remains on the ballot proper.

The decisions made at those hearings could have large ramifications on the state of Louisiana gambling going forward.