The Senate approved a bill that would renew the state's contract with Harrah’s New Orleans for at least 20 more years, contribute an additional 20-million dollars a year to the state's coffers, and they would provide an upfront payment of 40-million dollars, which would be divided between the state and the city.
Harrah's would also agree to build a 350-million dollar hotel, with new restaurants and entertainment space.
The bill escaped on a 21-16 vote, with many senators, including Winnfield Senator Gerald Long who said the process moved so fast that no one knew exactly what they were voting for. He says the Senate should’ve delayed the vote until analysts could review the fiscal note.
"There is no sin in waiting, until we get enough information to make an intelligent decision, we don't have it now," said Long.
Mandeville Senator Jack Donahue says the threats that Harrah's could leave if the state doesn’t act fast to renew the contract are troubling.
The measure heads back to the House to see if they agree to Senate changes with the legislation.