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It is expected that legislators in this session of the Louisiana Legislature will take up the idea of allowing riverboat casinos to expand their gaming space on to land. It would only make sense if we are expecting the gaming facilities in our state to compete with other states, like Mississippi, that have allowed water based gaming to come onshore.

The proposed legislation wouldn't allow for more casinos to be built, at least at this juncture. It would simply allow those facilities who must maintain their gaming facilities over water to build bigger and more player friendly spaces on land.

Louisiana first legalized riverboat gaming in 1991. The idea of putting casinos on riverboats was seen as a way to help the state better control the growth of legalized gaming.

Over the past 25 years that industry has added billions of dollars to the state's tax coffers. I believe allowing responsible gaming companies the ability to expand and improve their product will only bring more revenue to the state.

Since the proposed legislation, at least as it reads now, doesn't call for more casino licenses or more casinos to move into the state it's not a true expansion of gambling. It's simply a tweak in the law that would allow those who are currently operating fiscally responsible businesses the opportunity to bring even more tourism dollars into our state.

I for one won't mind having my new highways, schools, or higher education paid for by visitors from Texas. In fact, I actually welcome the idea.


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