Senator Thomas Pressly Reconsiders Casino Donation Legislation

Listen to this news articleLISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:

Senator Thomas Pressly, representing Louisiana’s 38th district, has reconsidered his stance on lifting the legislative ban that prevents casinos from making political contributions.

Reversal on Casino Donations Comes after Criticism

Senator Pressly initially proposed a finance bill (HB 906) aimed at removing the prohibition on casino campaign donations. The amendment was introduced without public consultation, with Pressly arguing it was an unjust restriction. He highlighted that while the video poker industry could contribute to political campaigns, casinos could not.

Pressly asserted that the prohibition was outdated and unconstitutional, referencing the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited corporate spending in politics.

However, local media outlet reported on the amendment, exposing its introduction without prior notice or public discussion, leading to significant backlash.

In response to the criticism, Pressly requested the removal of the amendment on May 23. Subsequently, the Senate approved the revised bill by a wide margin of 29-5 and sent it back to the House for final approval.

Ban Introduced Following Corruption Scandals

The ban on casino campaign contributions was established in 1996, following corruption scandals involving former Governor Edwin Edwards. Edwards had extorted nearly $3 million from companies seeking casino licenses in exchange for legalizing gambling in Louisiana. These scandals tarnished Louisiana’s reputation and led to the strict prohibition, even extending to casino owners and their spouses.

In 2002, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the ban, distinguishing between video poker and casino licenses. The court concluded that allowing casinos to make financial contributions within certain limits was a reasonable measure to prevent corruption.

Ronnie Jones, former chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, opposed lifting the ban. Drawing from his experience in addressing the negative image of gambling from Edwards’ era, Jones emphasized that gaming interests should not be intertwined with political donations. He stressed that lawmakers must ensure the industry does not attempt to buy votes.

Despite this, Jeff Morris, a spokesperson for Penn Entertainment’s public affairs and government relations, argued that the current law disadvantages Louisiana casinos compared to other gaming stakeholders permitted to make campaign contributions.

More Regulation News


Leave a Comment

user avatar
My Name United States of America
Your Comment

User Comments

Comments for Senator Thomas Pressly Reconsiders Casino Donation Legislation