There are several bills filed for this legislative session that will seek to make major changes to the state’s gaming industry. Executive Director of the Louisiana Casino Association Wade Duty says the state legalized riverboat gambling in 1991 and now those casinos are looking to become more attractive to players if they can have gambling space on land.
"Removing some of these facilities from water to land side is attractive. Also the conversion of 30,000 square feet of gaming space makes sense based the evolution of the games themselves."
Duty says not only are riverboat casinos asking the legislature to allow gaming on land, they are also seeking extra floor space.
"The machines themselves have evolved. They are physically larger. So if you stay with the same amount of square footage, you are reaching the position now where you have fewer number of devices you can put on the floor."
Duty realizes that there will be opponents against the modernization of the gambling industry, but stresses the bills before the legislature will not expand gaming as they are not seeking additional riverboat gaming licenses. He says these changes are designed to help casino operators and benefit the state with more tax revenue.
"We're losing ground to other markets and we have not visited this issue in a quarter-century. Maybe it's time to take a look at this to make sure Louisiana maximizes it's benefit from having the industry operating in this state."