Golden Nugget Casino owner proposes updates to Louisiana gambling laws

  • Golden Nugget Casino owner Tilman Fertitta spoke during a riverboat and economic taskforce meeting
  • Tilman reportedly suggested that state officials should embrace online gambling now

America’s 235th richest man and president and CEO of Landry’s Inc (owner of Golden Nugget Casinos) Tilman Fertitta has reportedly called on state officials to embrace online casinos and called for more gambling by allowing casino operators to expand operations on their properties in the State of Virginia.

tilman fertitta
Golden Nugget Casino owner, Tilman Fertitta has urged Louisiana to update it gambling laws

Tilman’s comments were made at a riverboat economic development and gaming task force in the city of Baton Rouge, in which he also reportedly expressed his thoughts on the need to update laws on riverboats.

Riverboat casinos

Tilman’s Golden Nugget Lake Charles Casino opened its doors in December 2014, after a whopping $700m investment. The casino boasts 70 table games as well as a poker room and 1,600 slot machines in a wide expansive floor.

Riverboat laws state that a casino must be on a moored barge and include a paddle wheel. But as Fertitta is reported to have stated in American ‘That barge is concrete, it’s not going anywhere’ after spending $10million to ensure his casino was compliant.

Fertitta reportedly used Mississippi and Nevada as an example of his arguments. In Louisiana, when a $10,000 jackpot is won, that slot machine stays idle whilst its awaits verification but in Mississippi and Nevada, that sum is $100,000 before the machines stand still and lose income.

Riverboat laws have remained virtually unchanged since the 1990’s and Senator Ronnie Johns (also a task force member) has echoed Tilman’s advice on updating riverboat laws too.

Unfair competition

During the same discussion, Tilman is reported to have touched on tribal casinos, specifically, the fact that they pay no sales tax and state income tax is not withheld from them when jackpots are won from them.

A proposed tax cap by Tilman on promotional play would also allow his casino to compete on an equal footing because, as it stands, tribal casinos are not charged any fee for using promotional play but a tax cap would allow for additional gambling income through more engaging marketing. He also mentioned the state embracing online gambling as a number of states are starting to pass laws legalising online gambling services.

Tilman reportedly sees this as a way for the state to generate upwards of $70 million extra in gambling revenue in the first year alone.

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