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PAR Says Keep Ban on Riverboat Campaign Contributions

In a 5-4 vote, the House and Governmental Affairs Committee reported favorably a bill that would repeal a hard-won law banning campaign contributions from riverboat gambling interests. Proponents of HB1549 believe that the ban is unfair because other gambling interests are allowed to make contributions. This argument fails to consider a very important fact: state law allows only fifteen riverboat licenses. The last decade of investigations, indictments and convictions in connection with the licenses illustrates why greater restrictions are necessary.

PAR first recommended the ban in 1995 and believes the law should stand. Opponents have had their day in court and lost. In 2002, the Louisiana Supreme Court found the ban constitutional, based on the long history of corruption, the appearance of corruption, and gambling in the state. The Court also noted that seven other states prohibit campaign contributions by gambling interests.

The state’s image is crucial for economic development. Turning back the clock to aid riverboat gambling interests would confirm the negative perception that many, especially those outside the state, have of Louisiana. PAR urges the House to reject HB 1549.

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