Louisiana is finally ready to introduce the long-awaited update to its casino gaming law. On Tuesday this week, a task force created by state legislators in 2016 suggested the revision of the state’s riverboat casino laws. Under the proposal, Louisiana’s 15 licensed riverboat casinos will be allowed to move their gambling operations on land. Such changes in the laws governing casino gambling aim at helping the industry to keep pace with the growing competition from out-of-the-state gambling facilities.
The recently-proposed changes are expected to get a big push from the lawmakers. Only two days ago, the Riverboat Economic Development and Gaming Task Force recommended the relocation of the state’s riverboat casinos on land. In addition to the task force’s proposals, Sen. Johns suggested that the casinos should launch better promotional campaigns that include the so-called promotional dollars.
These are promotional play vouchers, which aim at attracting the attention of potential customers and retain existing ones. Mr. Johns elaborated that the casinos should pay a 21.5% tax on their net turnover, supposing that they use such promotional vouchers. The top official made it clear that promotional play dollars above the guaranteed amount will not be subjected to taxes.
The official explained that the recommendations are just the beginning of the total change in the state’s gaming regime. Sen. Johns stated that the bill will be introduced in the upcoming session. Speaking of the sports betting, Mr. Johns said that the state will wait a bit before rolling the dice on the sports betting industry. In other words, Sen. Johns will not introduce any sports betting legislation in the upcoming session, but the official will stay tuned on the matter.
Task Force Unveils Sweeping Recommendations
Under the task force’s recommendations, the riverboat casinos would be allowed to move their gambling operations onshore within 1,200 feet of their current moorages. The proposed changes to Louisiana’s current gaming regime was applauded by the casino operators.
Apart from that, the task force suggested that the cap on the gaming floors should be changed in a way to make sure that there is enough space for the bulky slot machines and other non-gambling amenities such as bars and restaurants.
State Sen. Ronnie Johns explained that the entire meaning of the space meaning will be changed. He elaborated that instead of square footage, casinos will be allowed to host up to 2,750 gaming spaces. The current gaming law states that gaming floors are limited to 30,000 square foot.
Even though the riverboats do not sail, the existing gaming regime treats them like actual sailing boats. In that sense, the floating casinos are required to have an operating paddle wheel and a maritime crew. Industry observers explained that scrapping the state’s current gaming regime will be a major victory for the industry.