Louisiana poker bill fails to pass

Recently proposed legislation aimed at legalizing weekly poker tournaments in the state of Louisiana failed to gain the requisite number of votes in the state's House of Representatives yesterday. H.B. 1149, which was introduced by Rep. Warren Triche, a Democrat from Thibodaux, needed 53 votes to pass. The House voted 51-54.

Triche's bill would have permitted businesses to run Texas Hold'em poker tournaments, provided no buy-in was charged and no rake taken by the house.

H.B. 1149 sparked a fiery debate amongst local politicians, largely as a result of current governor Kathleen Blanco's ardent opposition to all forms of gambling.

Blanco has repeatedly warned that she will veto any measures she deems to be an expansion of gambling, a category she believes H.B. 1149 falls into. Supporters of the legislation, however, believe the bill only serves to clarify existing state law rather than expand upon it.

The state's Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner, Murphy Painter, says the tournaments violate Louisiana's gambling laws because host establishments profit from increased sales of food and beverages as a result of the events, while supporters of the tournaments believe no laws are being broken so long as organizers aren't collecting rake.

Triche can elect to bring up the legislation again in the next House session.

Please see Poker Passes First Legalization Hurdle In Louisiana for further details.

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