Bill to allow La. riverboat casinos to move ashore expected to be signed

Bill to allow La. riverboat casinos to move ashore expected to be signed

May 16, 2018 9:00 AM
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The bill that would allow Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos to move ashore now awaits the expected signature of Gov. John Bel Edwards.

A 54-41 House vote Tuesday sent the bill to the governor. The Senate previously voted 22-14 for the measure.

When enacted, the law allows riverboat casinos conduct gambling activities within 1,200 feet on land from their licensed berth and will no longer need an operable paddlewheel. A portion of the previous law that capped gambling facilities at 30,000 sq. ft. of gambling space will be replaced with a cap of 2,365 gambling positions.

Supporters believe the changes will modernize what is now a vital state industry. Opponents said gambling is now being expanded and moving away from the casino restrictions that voters has approved.

Louisiana’s overall gambling revenues were down in April from 2017, with New Orleans marking the poorest performance of any of the state’s casino markets with a 17.4 drop in year-to-year winnings.

The state’s 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos and the land-based Harrah’s New Orleans casino took in nearly $211.2 million in winnings during April, according to figures released this week by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. That was down 8.1 percent from the $229.7 million generated in April 2017.