A bill that would allow riverboat casinos to come up out of the water passed is heading to the governor’s desk. The legislation would “modernize” riverboat casino regulations, allowing them to expand onto land near where they are berthed, and it changes the rules on gambling space. Shreveport Representative Barbara Norton and Lake Charles Representative Stephen Dwight discussed just how much gaming contributes to the state.
“Norton: How much tax dollars does that bring to the state of Louisiana?
Dwight: Over 900 million dollars in revenue.
Norton: Did you say 900 million?
Dwight: yes mam, which actually surpasses oil and gas.
Norton: Can you say that again? How much?
Dwight: 900 million.
Norton: 900 million dollars.”
Gaming advocates have brought up the fact that the “riverboats” haven’t taken a ride down waterways in years. Baton Rouge Representative Denis Marcelle brought up the safety concerns that come with forcing facilities to exist over water.
“If a barge were to break loose in Baton Rouge on the river somewhere, what do you think might happen to the people on the boats?”
But Baton Rouge Representative Rick Edmonds says the probative restrictions placed on the gaming industry are there for a reason, because Louisianans don’t want more gambling in the state, and he says passing this legislation would lead to an increase in the number of casino visitors.
“Were going to move from them moving to nonmoving, to docking, and now allow them to go on land, so we continue to expand in one way or another.”
The vote was 54-41.