The lawmakers in Louisiana have extended Harrah’s license to operate its land-based casino in New Orleans for the next 30 years. The plea to extend the company’s no-bid contract was under consideration, and now it has been approved by the state lawmakers. The extension will come into effect after the government’s official approval.
On Tuesday, the Senate approved the decision by a 27-10 vote, and it is now pending Gov. John Bel Edwards official signature. Gov. Edwards has already expressed his support for the decision to allow an extension.
Earlier last year, the same 30-year extension proposal failed to make it through the Senate. For this year, the “the House and Senate then hired a consultant to study the casino license’s fair market value ahead of this year’s debate.”
Talking about the extension of Harrah’s license Sen. Gary Smith, said: “We wanted to make sure we had the right deal for the state.” He also opined that the deal would benefit the “the city, the citizens and the state.”
As a part of the license extension deal, Harrah’s would be paying $25 million upfront as renewal fees of which $17.5 million will go to the state while the remaining $7.5 million would be shared by the New Orleans authorities.
Moreover, over the next three years, the gambling operator would have to pay an additional $40 million which would again be shared between the state and the city of New Orleans – 28 million to the state and 12 million to the city.
The annual payment in taxes would remain as it is – $60 million or 18.5 percent of the gross revenue, whichever is greater. Also, Harrah’s will have to tender a sum of $6 million annually to New Orleans for maintenance of law and order through its policing services and $3.4 million annually for cancer research facilities as a part of mandatory corporate social responsibility.
While there have been ongoing talks about gambling expansion in Louisiana, a state committee rejected the much anticipated sports betting bill, stalling the chances of a possible gambling expansion.