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Louisiana Senate Relaxes Video Poker Regulations

Rate this Article Video poker lobbyists are battling to improve regulations for Louisiana’s truck stops. Online Bingo Games - Louisiana Senate Relaxes Video Poker Regulations

At the end of March, the Louisiana Senate voted to pass legislation that would relax the regulation of video poker machines throughout the state. On Tuesday, March 27th, the Senate opted to ease regulatory measures on machines installed at various truck stops throughout Louisiana. The legislation was the inaugural casino-based bill considered on the Senate or House floor, despite a string of bills relating to gaming regulation implemented during the active legislative period.

The video poker bill will now be passed to the Louisiana House to consider the legislation. Reportedly, Governor John Bel Edwards is open to a relaxation of casino game regulations and may be the one to sign the bill should it gain approval on the House floor. Although this is a significant step forward for video poker in Louisiana, the video poker industry failed to secure the elimination of all the regulations it first sought via the Senate. Much of the eliminations were stalled due to heavy campaigning from the Louisiana Family Forum, a right-wing Christian group that’s adamant in their opposition against gaming in the state. It was a point of real frustration for the lobbyists of video poker deregulation, who had already liaised with the Forum prior to the vote in the Senate.

The proposed Senate Bill 184 will enable an increased number of screens on video poker machines for “entertainment purposes.” It also enables machines to utilize more card decks when a player is involved in multiple hands. Truck stops with video poker machines will no longer use as much fuel as they do now after they have been in business for a decade to maintain their video poker machines. Historically, truck stop owners have had to meet monthly fuel sales targets:
• 50,000 gallons to operate 35 machines
• 75,000 gallons to operate 45 machines
• 100,000 gallons to operate 50-plus gaming machines

Louisiana Senate Relaxes Video Poker Regulations

Video poker lobbyists are battling to improve regulations for Louisiana’s truck stops.

Under the new legislation, truck stops will be able to retain their video poker machines if they’ve been in business for more than 10 years, providing they shift 25,000 gallons of fuel per month. That’s half the minimum requirements of today’s stipulations. That’s because many truck stops have reported struggling to hit the minimum amount of fuel sales to keep their machines due largely to new roads and interstates that have diverted the flow of traffic away from them.

The video poker lobbyists were also keen to remove the requirement for restaurants to be open at least 12 hours a day to operate video poker machines on their premises. Despite this facet of the bill being eliminated, operators are likely to lobby for its exclusion via a new piece of legislation asking for restaurants not to have to be open for a set period to operate video poker devices.

At the time of writing, some 13,000-plus video poker machines are in operation throughout 1,800 establishments in Louisiana. Half of which are installed at truck stops. The machines contribute $185 million to the state economy, spread out among the various district attorneys, local parish governments, state police and various other state functions. Video poker is still one of the most attractive games in land-based and online casinos due largely to its comparative low house edge.

In 2015-16, truck stop video poker machines yielded net revenues of $402 million, some $109 million more than at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, which gives an understanding of their significance to the state economy. The primary difference between video poker and other electronic versions of poker is that the former is based on the five card draw variant. There are no betting rounds included in video poker; all the wagering is before the hands are dealt. The skill to video poker is knowing what type of video poker games to play. Finding ones that are considered “loose” and pay out the highest percentage of cash they take in is crucial.

Most video poker fans will attempt to gain an edge by comparing payouts on each machine, looking for ones that pay out the maximum for top hands like straight and royal flushes, four-of-a-kind and full houses. Experienced players will also seek out the lowest denomination machines and play the maximum amount of coins possible per hand. That’s because you’ll get the best payout odds when playing the maximum stake.

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