A potential vote that would allow the floating casinos of Louisiana to expand operations on land has been delayed once again, with time running out for voting on senate bill 316 to take place on Monday April 23.
With the potential to remove restrictions for Louisiana’s fifteen floating gambling halls, the bill’s main sponsor, Senator Ronnie Johns, has stated legislation is not an expansion of gaming, and allows an industry to become more modernised after many years of hardly any changes.
This has been countered by Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills who has said this is disingenuous, adding that by allowing casinos such expansion it risks increasing the number of states gambling addicts. Which currently stand at 180,000.
Speaking to local media, Gene Mills stated: “It does increase their square footage, their gaming area as well as their gaming opportunities, so its undeniably an expansion, not in the terms of license, but in terms of opportunity.
“It’s the final step of the evolution in the riverboats becoming land-based casinos and that’s just a impermissible objective in the state of Louisiana.”
Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty however has backed the plans, with more profitable casinos meaning more revenue for the state.
Adding that Louisiana is the only state that requires casinos be seaworthy, which holds back the local industry, Duty commented: “Having these boats on the water does not necessarily lend itself to a good revenue base for the state and also predictable jobs.
“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.”
The Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force has previously recommended permitting land based venues, with the industry receiving a significant boost as a result.
Whilst acknowledging opposition from within the state, a need to improve upon its $906m casino sector income has been stressed.