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Louisiana is planning to amend the law to allow riverboat casinos to move onto land and to have more machines and gamblers than they currently have.

There are 15 riverboat casinos in the state currently, which have a statutory space constraint of 30,000 square-foot for gambling purposes. The new legislation, proposed in Senate Bill 316, would remove the statutory constraint. The proposed new limit is 2365 gambling positions in each riverboat casino. A gambling position is defined as anything from a seat at a slot machine to spaces around blackjack and poker tables.

 

At present, no riverboat casino has 2365 gambling seats. The largest of them – the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, which is also the newest, has 2152 positions.

Overall, the state has 21,223 gaming positions in river boats. When the new law comes into force, there will be a maximum provision for 35,475 positions.

According to the state gaming control board, the 15 riverboats have an average of 18.9 square feet per gambling position. If that space constraint was not removed, it would take 49,159 square feet to accommodate the 2365 gambling positions that would be allowed under the legislation. That is well over the 30,000 square-foot restriction currently imposed.

The average riverboat has 1471 gambling positions now and uses 27,843 square feet of gambling space, according to information provided by the state gaming control board.

Currently in the New Orleans area, the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner has 1224 gambling positions with 23,680 square feet of gambling space. Boomtown Casino in Harvey has 1392 gambling positions with 29,725 square feet of gambling space.

Harrah’s New Orleans, which is not regulated like a riverboat casino, has 2495 gambling positions with 125,119 square feet of gambling space, according to the state gaming control board.

The sponsor of the legislation, Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, said the 2365-position cap was devised by taking the number of seats operating in the Golden Nugget – again the highest number of gambling positions – and adding an additional 10 per cent to that number. Though no current riverboat casino operates with that level of gambling capacity, he insists that the legislation doesn’t represent an “expansion of gambling” in Louisiana.

“This bill does not expand gambling in this state,” Johns said on Wednesday (May 2).

Source: nola.com


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