In Louisiana, a senior local lawmaker has reportedly introduced legislation that would extend the casino license for the downtown Harrah’s Casino and Hotel New Orleans by another 30 years until 2053.
According to a report from local radio broadcaster WRKF, the current license for the New Orleans casino operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation is due to expire in 2023, but a measure introduced yesterday by Taylor Barras, the Republican leader for the Louisiana House of Representatives, would see this deadline extended by a further 30 years.
The only legal non-riverboat casino in the southern state, Harrah’s Casino and Hotel New Orleans reportedly opened in October of 1999 under a provision that limits the number of hotel rooms and restaurants it may offer. But, Barras’ proposal would purportedly also do away with this stipulation and permit Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment Corporation to spend upwards of $350 million in order to construct a second hotel tower to sit alongside the gambling venue’s current 450-room offering.
Sixty-one-year-old Barras reportedly explained that the passage of his legislation would increase the number of tourists visiting the center of Louisiana’s largest city and lead to the southern state generating an additional $13 million in annual tax revenues.
“My interest in it is truly the economic impact it makes for the state and the increased revenue opportunity that we have once this $350 million is complete,” Barras reportedly told the broadcaster. “This bill does not allow for an additional machine or an additional table or anything as it relates to gaming space on the floor.”
In exchange for extending the term of Harrah’s Casino and Hotel New Orleans’ license and allowing it to grow, the proposed legislation from Barras’ would reportedly see the $60 million annual payment Caesars Entertainment Corporation is required to hand over to the state increased by a further $7 million with these funds to be shared between the host city and the Louisiana Department of Education.
Ahead of sending the proposed legislation to the floor of the Louisiana House of Representatives for a full future vote, Barras’ Democratic counterpart, Walt Leger, reportedly told WRKF that the measure ‘may very well be one of the most important economic development bills’ that current members of the lower chamber will ever ‘have the chance to vote on’.