Senate committee approves loosening regulation of the state's ri - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Senate committee approves loosening regulation of the state's riverboat casinos

Golden Nugget Lake Charles (Source: KPLC) Golden Nugget Lake Charles (Source: KPLC)
(KPLC) -

By Paul Braun

LSU Manship News Service

BATON ROUGE—A Senate committee approved bills that would loosen regulation of the state’s 15 riverboat casinos, allowing them to expand 1,200 feet onto the shore and add more gaming tables and slot machines.

The main bill, sponsored by Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, also would drop requirements that the riverboats keep their distinctive paddlewheels.

The bills were approved by the Senate Judiciary B Committee, which Johns chairs, and will move to the Senate floor.

Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D- New Orleans, took gaming industry representatives to task for their failure to meet self-imposed minority procurement goals.

Peterson challenged Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, about the racial makeup of its board of directors and the upper management of the casinos.

“If you don’t have a diverse group of people at the highest levels of those organizations, it is very difficult to get there in the second, third and fourth tier of the organization, if there is no conversation at the top,” Peterson said. “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Duty said 11.6 percent of the casinos’ procurements come from minority-owned businesses, a 12 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. He said casino procurement officers have struggled to find minority vendors.

Peterson was not convinced. She asked why the officers had not reached out to the African-American chambers of commerce in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport.

“This is further evidence that the people at the top aren’t getting it,” Peterson said.

Peterson’s criticism came two months after Ronnie Jones, the chairman of the Gaming Control Board, questioned why riverboat casinos in Northwest Louisiana had consistently failed to meet voluntary minority procurement goals.

Johns’ bill would allow the riverboats to expand their operations onto the shore and expand the areas they devote to gaming. His bill would define the limit as 2,365 gaming positions, or seats at blackjack tables, roulette wheels or slot machines.

The state's 15 riverboat licenses are spread across four main markets: Shreveport/Bossier City, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Under state law, all 15 boats are required to have an operating paddlewheel, but Johns’ bill would drop that rule.

Mississippi already permits riverboats to conduct gaming within 800 feet of the coast. By stretching approve 1,200 feet, Johns’ bill would enable Louisiana's riverboats to be larger than the ones in Mississippi and bring in more revenue

Given the budget crisis, Johns said, the state needs the $900 million in taxes that come from the gaming industry.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved. 

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Will the I-10 bridge construction traffic affect the LHSAA Softball State Tournament?

    Will the I-10 bridge construction traffic affect the LHSAA Softball State Tournament?

    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:01 AM EDT2018-04-26 04:01:18 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
    Over 90 teams from across the state will be battling it out for softball championship titles, and while the tournament is held in Sulphur, many teams book hotels in Lake Charles.  But will traffic play a role in this year's tournament?  The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau told 7News hotels are sold out in Calcasieu Parish--filled with teams for this weekend's tournament.  While traffic is a concern, they say they've already talked to team...More >>
    Over 90 teams from across the state will be battling it out for softball championship titles, and while the tournament is held in Sulphur, many teams book hotels in Lake Charles.  But will traffic play a role in this year's tournament?  The Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau told 7News hotels are sold out in Calcasieu Parish--filled with teams for this weekend's tournament.  While traffic is a concern, they say they've already talked to team...More >>
  • Gator Chateau breaks ground on expansion project

    Gator Chateau breaks ground on expansion project

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 10:13 PM EDT2018-04-26 02:13:03 GMT
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)
    (Source: KPLC)(Source: KPLC)
    Popular Jennings tourist spot Gator Chateau has broken ground on its expansion project. The new addition has been a long time coming according to Jeff Davis Parish officials, as the first building went up in 1976. "We are going to have more room for the tours we do," said Marion Fox, President and CEO of the Jeff Davis Parish Economic Development & Tourism Commission. "They are going to lay the groundwork, lay the foundation, and then we are going to start bui...More >>
    Popular Jennings tourist spot Gator Chateau has broken ground on its expansion project. The new addition has been a long time coming according to Jeff Davis Parish officials, as the first building went up in 1976. "We are going to have more room for the tours we do," said Marion Fox, President and CEO of the Jeff Davis Parish Economic Development & Tourism Commission. "They are going to lay the groundwork, lay the foundation, and then we are going to start bui...More >>
  • Johns’ riverboat proposal gains approval

    Johns’ riverboat proposal gains approval

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 9:32 PM EDT2018-04-26 01:32:58 GMT
    Louisiana Legislature (Source: KPLC)Louisiana Legislature (Source: KPLC)

    Louisiana's senators have agreed to allow the state's riverboat casinos to move on land. The Senate voted 22-14 Tuesday for the proposal by Sen. Ronnie Johns, a Lake Charles Republican. The measure would allow Louisiana's 15 riverboat casinos to conduct gambling activities within 1,200 feet on land from where the riverboat is berthed and remove the requirement the riverboats have an operable paddlewheel. It also would redefine the limits on gambling space.

    More >>

    Louisiana's senators have agreed to allow the state's riverboat casinos to move on land. The Senate voted 22-14 Tuesday for the proposal by Sen. Ronnie Johns, a Lake Charles Republican. The measure would allow Louisiana's 15 riverboat casinos to conduct gambling activities within 1,200 feet on land from where the riverboat is berthed and remove the requirement the riverboats have an operable paddlewheel. It also would redefine the limits on gambling space.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly