Louisiana casino expansion debate rolls on as vote hangs in balance

Copyright: f11photo / 123RF Stock Photo

Ahead of a potential vote on a bill that would permit Louisiana’s floating casinos to expand operations on land, the bill’s sponsor, senator Ronnie Johns, was stalling for time as he sought the backing needed for the proposals to pass the senate.

Johns, a Republican, last week said that he did not want Senate Bill 316 to be voted on until he could be sure of backing across the floor. Johns said he was still “a few votes short” of ensuring the bill to enable the state’s 15 riverboat casinos to expand would pass.

Louisiana Casino Association executive director Wade Duty said that more profitable casinos would mean more revenue for the state, reported local media outlet WWL. “Having these boats on the water does not necessarily lend itself to a good revenue base for the state and also predictable jobs,” said Duty.

“Being able to get these boats off of the water and into a land configuration improves not only your predictability as far as maintenance, but not only the attractiveness for the customer,” he said.

However, Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills countered: “[The proposed expansion] does increase their square footage, their gaming area as well as their gaming opportunities, so its undeniably an expansion, not in the terms of licence, but in terms of opportunity.”

The senate vote was scheduled to take place on Monday, April 23, but time ran out, affording Johns a little more breathing space in which to pick up the backing SB316 needs to pass.