La. casinos get $83 million tax break

Published: June 24, 2020

By: Kathleen Peppo, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — The House voted 73-18 Wednesday to approve a tax break for promotional play wagers at casinos. It would cost the state $11.2 million in lost revenues in the next fiscal year, starting July 1, and a total of $83 million over five years.

The bill is designed to help the casino industry after the major hit it took from the COVID-19 shutdown. It would allow each casino to give customers $5 million in free promotional play wagers without having the casinos having to pay state taxes on those amounts. Anything above $5 million would be taxed at the normal rate, 21.5 percent.

The Senate also had passed the bill, written by Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles. It now goes to Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Here is how Houma-Thibodaux representatives voted Wednesday on the casino tax break:

For: Tanner Magee and Jerome Zeringue, R-Houma and Bryan Fontenot, R-Thibodaux.

Against: Beryl Amedée, R-Gray.

As of May 17, gaming revenue was down by $122 million from a year earlier. Casinos and other forms of gaming, including the state lottery, normally bring in more revenue for the state than any other industry.

In May, the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs committee rejected a resolution to suspend taxes on all promotional play wagers in the gaming industry. That would have cost the state $29 million in tax revenues next year and $217.9 million over five years.


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