BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The former DiamondJacks property in Bossier City appears headed for a new life as a land-based casino, with new owners that have experience in turning around distressed properties.

According to Louisiana Gaming Control Board President Ronnie Johns, there is now a legal agreement in place between P2E and Foundation Gaming to purchase the property, with plans for extensive renovations.

“They’re a very reputable company,” Johns says of Foundation Gaming. “They have properties in a number of other states but primarily in Mississippi. They have a history of taking distressed properties and renovating them into much nicer and much more viable properties, particularly in Vicksburg and Tupelo, Mississippi.”

DiamondJacks has been shut down since May 2020, when P2E announced it would not reopen after pandemic restrictions eased. In October, the casino laid off 349 employees and held a liquidation sale, unloading everything from commercial kitchen and laundry equipment to flat-screen TVs and stage lights.

The sale agreement comes after months of uncertainly and delays, as P2E tried and failed to move the casino license to St. Tammany Parish, where it planned to develop a $325 million casino and marina in Slidell, but voters rejected a referendum in December of 2021 that would have allowed the move.

Johns says the sale is contingent upon the Louisiana State Police Gaming Division review for suitability for licensing. Once that is complete and the state police make their recommendation to the board, Foundation Gaming is expected to make a full presentation on their plans for the property before the board votes on whether to transfer the license.

Johns hopes that will happen within the next few months, possibly in time for the board’s June meeting.

Johns says Foundation Gaming is expected to add updated items and do away with the traditional style casino, noting that the new owners have the advantage of already knowing the property and market.

“The owners actually came from the old Isle of Capris corporation from years ago, and that was the original site. The original owner of that site was Isle of Capris, so they’re very familiar with the property, they’re very familiar with the Bossier-Shreveport market. They want to and they intend to build a very first-rate facility by doing away with the old riverboat in a land-based casino there, and they feel like they can actually grow the market for the community.”

Johns says he expects the renovated property to be a “much nicer facility.”

“The old legacy riverboats had very low ceilings,” Johns said, noting that Bossier City does not have a smoking ban. “The old riverboats were smoky. Going with the land-based property, they have the ability to put in a very high-tech, very first-class ventilation system. It’s going to be a much safer environment for the customer. It’s gonna be just a much nicer experience, more spread out. It doesn’t mean that they gonna have a lot more table games and slot machines, they’re just gonna be spread out where it’ll be a great experience.”

In addition to featuring more restaurants and amenities, Johns says Foundation Gaming intends to build a sportsbook on the property.

“We think it’s gonna be a win-win deal for not only the state of Louisiana by putting that license back into commerce, but it’s gonna be a huge win for the city of Bossier of not having that closed property there, and just letting it sit there and get worse by the day, so we’re trying to move forward as quickly as we can.”

Had P2E not found a buyer in Foundation Gaming, state regulators were prepared to revoke the license and put it up for bid in a process that likely would have pushed back the reopening of the property another few years.

Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler says the new life for the former DiamondJacks property is a welcome development in a fast-growing area of the city.

“I’m excited about it. This is gonna be great for Bossier and Shreveport, and it’s going to bring a whole lot more people in it because people will just stop right off by I-20 right there. East Bank is growing, Margaritaville on the other side is growing. The Boardwalk is fixing to grow up, but the East Bank is really getting big. So it’s bringing a lot of people in town.”

Johns says the renovated casino property will likely be ready to open for business by next summer or fall.