Bossier City: Potential loss of DiamondJacks Casino not a crisis

Bossier City: Potential loss of DiamondJacks Casino not a crisis

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - Word is still spreading about the potential move of DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City.

And the reaction so far, at least by some, is not one of surprise. Some even call it inevitable.

Since 1994, Louisiana riverboats have contributed more than $2 billion in state taxes and more than half a billion dollars in local tax revenue.

Last year alone, DiamondJacks Casino paid out more than $4 million in taxes, according to figures from Louisiana State Police.

That's what's at stake if the casino chooses not to spend $100 million to upgrade and expand the Bossier City property and instead moves south to Tangipahoa Parish.

But from a tax revenue standpoint, Bossier City leaders say, the loss of a casino could be minimal.

"Revenue generated in the market here is dictated by the markets. We feel it's dictated by the markets and not the number of boats," Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale said.

City officials think roughly the same number of visitors will visit Shreveport-Bossier City casinos and spend about the same amount of money regardless of whether the twin cities have six or five riverboat casinos.

In fact, Natale added, having the top two revenue-generating boats in the market, Horseshoe and Margaritaville, in Bossier City also will help retain visitor and spending numbers.

So if DiamondJacks Casino eventually does leave the property, the biggest question then becomes what happens to the property itself.

Some observers fear that it could just sit empty, become an eyesore or worse.

As it turns out, some say the place has potential.

The property could be redeveloped into something else because of its prime location, Natale said.

"Possibly retail. Certainly, there's a hotel there already with good interstate access, easy on easy off."

DiamondJacks Casino's decision to expand in or leave Bossier City will not happen overnight.

Natale said it could take years.

"You've got a legislative process. You've got a local option down there where they'll possibly would be moving to, if they decide to do so," Natale said.

Some people who are not surprised by the possibility of DiamondJacks leaving the Shreveport-Bossier City market.

"Because they don't have business like the rest of the casino(s) have over here. They don't," said Lisa Wilson, of Shreveport. "And I went by one or two times, so that's about it."

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