Poker truck stop owner pushes for tougher casino regulations

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Taking into account the concerns of a roadhouse casino owner who says he cannot compete, the Caddo Parish Commission may decide to extend regulations on off-road betting parlors.

Airport casino owner Nathan Hicks said these lounges don’t have the same zoning requirements, allowing them to be closer to churches and schools than Hicks’ business. He also said that these businesses allow for more leisure.

“They can also offer smoking. They can also offer table games. They can also offer horse racing. I just can’t compete,” Hicks told the Commission on Thursday.

“Quite frankly, if these playing fields are not kept up to standard, we will be at such a disadvantage that many small businesses like mine – we would have to close,” Hicks added.

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The Caddo Parish Commission will hold a special meeting on improving these regulations on July 28.

The Commission’s proposed legislation would give these off-track betting parlors the same zoning restrictions as video poker truck stops, like the one owned by Hicks.

Earlier this year, Louisiana lawmakers passed legislation expanding the area available for off-track betting parlors. Hicks said the law would allow big casinos — namely Louisiana Downs — to take a bigger share of the market without paying taxes.

“This will be the largest lateral transfer of municipal funds into private hands in Louisiana state history,” Hicks said. “Money that would go into the Caddo parish coffers would go to the Horsemen’s Association.”

Parish Attorney Henry Bernstein suggested the commissioners use the professional licensing tax to level the playing field for video poker truck stops.

Kendrick Dante writes for the USA Today Network and is a government watchdog reporter in Shreveport, Louisiana. He loves cooking, concerts and content. Email him at [email protected] or connect on Twitter @kendrickdante.

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