BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The future of DiamondJacks Casino remains uncertain after its owners got yet another extension last week instead of presenting plans for reopening, adding to concerns about how much longer the property will remain vacant.

“They need to do something with that property now because they have a lot of money tied up into that,” Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler said Monday.

The site is still empty, nearly two years after COVID restrictions shut everything down and DiamondJacks owners Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E) decided not to reopen the Bossier City casino. Chandler says the casino used to generate more than $1.5 million in revenue for the city and employed 300 people, but revenue isn’t the only issue.

“We’re concerned about the vacant property and the look of the property. We want to see how the future will look for the property.”

It’s a concern state gaming regulators raised last week, as they debated whether to grant P2E a 60-day extension in order to work out a possible sale.

“The facility has gotten to where it’s not marketable,” Louisiana Gaming and Control Board member Harry Avant told an attorney and a property manager who attended the meeting on behalf of P2E. “I just hope it hasn’t got past the point of being marketable, ’cause no one wants to come in and just totally redo the AC, plumbing, and it’s just a shame it got to this point. There was no vision of really reopening this at all. And we’re disappointed in that.”

P2E originally had until Feb. 9 to resume gaming operations at the Bossier City property or relinquish its license after voters in St. Tammany Parish rejected a referendum that would have allowed the company to move the license to the site of a proposed $325 million casino and marina in Slidell on the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain.

P2E requested an extension on Jan. 12 to have more time to prepare a detailed reopening plan before the board on Feb. 17. Instead, the Los Angeles-based company asked for more time in order to work out the details of a possible sale to Foundation Gaming, a Mississippi-based company that buys and refurbishes distressed casino properties.

“It’s an operator that’s optimistic about the prospect potentially operating a license at a redeveloped casino at the current berth site in Bossier,” P2E attorney Peter Connick told the board.

Even if the companies work out the details, it could take an estimated two to three years to approve new buyers and get a firm date for reopening, meaning the dilapidated property could remain vacant for some time.

“Not only do we have an obligation to the state of Louisiana and the laws that govern gaming here today, but we also have an obligation to the City of Bossier,” said board chair Ronnie Johns. “The mayor and his council are extremely concerned about the condition of the property, the number of calls to the police department over the last year of problems, security problems out at the property. I think, I was told by the mayor there were 122 calls out to the property in a one-year period, and that`s just not acceptable.”

In spite of those concerns, the board reluctantly gave the owners of DiamondJacks another extension. P2E now has until March 18 to work out a sale or give up their gaming license. But not before members of the state gaming board made clear their frustration with the extended delays.

“I find it extremely disturbing that something that has gone on now for two years, and this board has been, has bent over backward to work with Peninsula, with P2E, on, first of all, a – opportunity to move that license to another part of the state,” Johns told the P2E representatives. “When that failed, to reopen the license in Bossier City. And so we stand here today and nothing has been done. I don’t think a blade of grass has been changed at the property, as I understand it, up in Bossier, even with all the extensions that we have done.”

“This is it. No more extensions. After this, we’re gonna just surrender it, we’ll move on from there,” Johns added after the vote approving the extension. “Please deliver our message to your corporate structure that the clock is ticking.”

If the sale does not come through and P2E is forced to surrender the gaming license, it could be at least four to five more years before a new licensee is approved and construction completed on a land-based casino at the site.

Mayor Chandler is hoping someone will come in and renovate the place sooner, rather than later.

“I’d like to see a real good casino. Something that’s making revenue for the city,” Chandler said.