Did You Hear That Louisiana Is Looking to Expand Their Floating Casino Business? According to a recent report by Tyler Bridges in The Advocate, Louisiana legislators are looking to pass a bill that would allow the state’s floating casinos to expand the number slots machines and table games they have on their floor. Known as Senate Bill 316, the exact provisions of this measure would allow the boats to come ashore as much as 1200 feet from the water. The current 30,000 square foot space limit would be removed, and the casino floor could be expanded to accommodate as many as 2,365 gaming seats.
Will Louisiana Definitely Expand Their Floating Casino Business?
One of the concerns of the House Criminal Justice committee was an expansion of the state’s casino industry and real money gambling in general. State Senator Ronnie Johns from Lake Charles defended Senate Bill 316 as an enhancement to Louisiana’s floating gambling fleet. His main point was that the number of boats would not increase, just the name of gambling positions on each existing floating casino.
The Advocate mentions a State Police study that calculated a new figure of 35,475 combined casino seats for the 15 floating casinos under the new law. Also, this would represent a 67 percent increase. The State Police figures also showed that the current fleet of gambling boats had a combined total of 21,223 seats as of last December.
The State Governor John Bel Edwards Pledged Support
While a House committee approved the measure this week, the bill still has move to the House floor for consideration. State Governor John Bel Edwards has already pledged his support. Johns is the primary sponsor of this bill. He sees these changes as a way to provide some additional economic development across the entire state. He believes that the changes in the law would encourage these floating gambling halls to come ashore and build a full-scale resort on land.
According to this report, this is already the case in Lake Charles with the Golden Nugget and the L’Auberge. Each casino took advantage of some loopholes in the current law to place their buildings on a floating barge adjacent to the waterway.
Ronnie Jones is the chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. He chaired a task force along with Senator Johns to come up with the recommendations for this bill. At the top of the list was to allow the boats to move their base of operation to land and cap their gaming seats, not the total square feet of space. Casino boat owners pushed for a higher cap on the number of gaming seats as well as the addition of other forms of real money gambling.
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When Will Louisiana Start to Expand It’s Floating Casino Businesses?
The current law does not have a cap on the number of seats each floating casino may have, rather it relies on the 30,000 square foot limit to control the size of the casino floor. The Golden Nugget in Lake Charles currently has 2,152 positions so that the new law would represent an increase of just 10 percent.
One of the main reasons the bill did pass the Senate was the casino owner’s desire to offer their customers bigger slot machines that would take up more floor space. That is why the seat limit option was included.