LA House OKs Local Vote on Racetrack

The Louisiana House voted to allow a parish to hold a vote on a proposed racetrack.

Iberville Parish, La., voters should be allowed to cast ballots on whether they want a new racetrack with slot machines, the Louisiana House voted May 21.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office has said the governor would veto such a bill, but House members approved it by a vote of 69-21. Jindal’s office has said the measure represents an expansion of gambling that the governor opposes.

Supporters said the proposed St. Gabriel Downs, which would be located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, would be an economic boon for the parish and the two of St. Gabriel. The Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association supports the concept, while the Louisiana Casino Association opposes it.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. Meanwhile, legislation to authorize a return of live horse racing to the old Evangeline Downs—currently a training center—could be heard in the near future.

Louisiana has four operating racetracks: Delta Downs Racetrack & Casino, Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, Fair Grounds, and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.