The Louisiana Senate approved legislation Wednesday that Stretches Caesars Entertainment’s contract for Managing Harrah’s Casino at New Orleans. If approved by the House, the bill would permit the company to run the casino for another twenty to thirty years, given it invests $350 million at a significant overhaul during the next four years.
At a 21-16 vote that hardly covered minimum of 20 votes, the Senate approved an amendment that puts a cap of $20 million over the additional minimum payment in earnings to the nation. Under the proposal, which wants to pass the home and receive Gov. John Bel Edwards’ acceptance, the casino would need to pay the State of Louisiana at least $83.6 million a year. In addition, the minimum yearly payments to New Orleans will be $6 million. The laws, specifically House Bill 553 (HB533), extends Caesars Entertainment Corporation’s state gambling license by 20 years with an option for another 10 years. The current 25-year lease allowing Caesars to run Harrah’s expires in 2024.
The agreement passed by the Senate on Wednesday also comprises a one-time fee of $40 million. The business would need to pay upfront around $30 million to the country and another $10 million to New Orleans. According to another provision in the bill, Caesars may need to double this contribution if it determines to transfer the property lease. The operator is expected to give the lease to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in the coming months or years. Additionally, it would need to spend $350 million at a large scale modernization and renovation project that envisions a new hotel to be added to the casino complex.
Before Caesars can continue with its plans for the New Orleans casino, HB533 will need to obtain the House’s acceptance. On March 29, the House passed the bill sponsored by Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, but the current version of the proposal requires Caesars to increase the payments it makes to the nation as taxation. It is, therefore, still unsure whether the business will agree to the new provisions but based on Harrah’s New Orleans General Manager Don Real, the bargain is a positive and visionary change that will be advantageous to both the town and the casino.
Gambling Expansion without Full Support from Legislators
In case HB533 receives assistance from the home, it will be the next gambling bill approved by legislators. On Tuesday, the House passed important legislation that enables riverboat casinos to come to land and provide more slot machines. Under Senate Bill 316, Louisiana’s 15 floating casinos will crawl from the water to become land-based casinos. Currently, casinos at the country need to possess operational paddle wheels to be awarded gaming licenses, though they remain docked instead of actually sailing.
Yet another piece of legislation, Senate Bill 417, is still nowhere near becoming a law. If passed, it would make it possible for a riverboat casino to move from Bossier Parish to Tangipahoa Parish. More importantly for the gambling industry in the country, Louisiana lawmakers chose not to allow sports gambling. Earlier, the Senate Finance Committee rejected a proposal by Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, that would legalize sports wagering. This arrived in sharp contrast to the historic SCOTUS ruling on Monday, which overturned the state-wide ban online sports gambling, called PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992).
Since the Supreme Court views the ban, individual nations will now begin to pass sports gambling legalization legislature. Louisiana, however, will not be among them. And it will miss massive opportunities, Senator Martiny believes, explaining this indistry will be one of those biggest money generators from the nation.