Even though the gambling industry is a major taxpayer in Louisiana, only one considerable change in its operations has occurred over the last 25 years. Riverboats haven’t been required to sail since April 1, 2001. However, other major changes could be on the way.
The intended amendments to current legislation would allow riverboats and other casinos to be able to more effectively compete with Native American casinos, which are not regulated by the states.
The state’s revenues from gambling totaled USD 916 M in 2016. Mineral revenues, on the other hand, totaled only USD 581 M after serving as a major revenue producer for years.
Ronnie Jones, a former state trooper and head of the regulatory Louisiana Gaming Control Board, heads a task force looking into potential changes in the laws. He said gambling has to be looked at from an economic development advantage.
Casinos want to get off riverboats and onto dry land with gambling floors larger than 30,000 square feet. Native American casinos have no such restrictions. Additional space is needed for newer slot machines that are bigger. Casinos also want to quit paying taxes on the promotional money they send out to entice gamblers into their hotels and other facilities.
Sports betting is also on the agenda, depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court decides about the issue. A court decision could come in April.