Louisiana Gaming Control Board
NWLA district seat vacant for year and a half
On the banks of the Red River in Bossier City, the Margaritaville Casino is slowly taking shape. City officials say it should be ready to open early next summer. Northwest Louisiana's newest casino project was given the go ahead by the state in February, that's when it was approved by the State Gaming Control Board. This, despite concerns from other casino operators that the gaming market could not support another riverboat.
But missing from that meeting was a voice from this area. For more than a year and a half, northwest Louisiana has not had a representative on the board.
Shreveport Senator Greg Tarver says, "The gaming board happens to be the most powerful board in the state. It controls a lot of money. It controls all gaming in the state, but we didn't have anyone to represent us."
Under state statute, 9 members are supposed to sit on the board. One is from each of the state's 7 congressional districts and there are 2 at large members. But the seat for the 4th Congressional District has been empty since Bossier businessman Gerry Juneau stepped down in March 2011.
Tarver says, "we were ignored. It's not the fault of the administration altogether." Tarver says this should have been dealt with, but it somehow fell through the cracks. Tarver says when he took office in January, he nominated someone to fill the seat. But that person withdrew their name because of a conflict of interest. Senator Tarver then nominated Rodessa businessman Claude Jackson.
Governor Jindal announced Jackson's appointment the day after his office was contacted by KTBS 3 News about why the seat had been left open for so long. Jackson didn't want to talk about his appointment until after his first meeting.
Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker says he didn't see the lack of a Gaming Control Board representative from the area as a problem. Bossier City is home to three riverboat casinos, Harrah's Louisiana Downs Racino and the soon to Margaritaville Casino.
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