Opinion: Concern for casinos?

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While there appears to be no reason to panic, the news that two area casinos are among the 18 properties included in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Caesar’s Entertainment Operating Co. certainly got the attention of many locals.

Horseshoe Casino and Hotel and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which combined has 1,800 employees, are both owned by Caesar’s.  The casino giant is trying to get court approval of a plan to get it out from under $18.4 billion in debt.

Company officials said that employees would continue to receive pay and benefits and that they intended to continue paying suppliers in full.

Last year, Caesar’s closed properties in Atlantic City, London, and Mississippi.  With 42 states now having some form of casino gaming, revenue is being split many ways, making it hard for some casinos to show a profit and survive.

lou BurnettAmong gaming markets nationwide, Shreveport-Bossier is ranked No. 13 in revenues.  Lake Charles is No. 14, and New Orleans is No. 20.  In Louisiana, gaming revenues declined 4.3% over the last quarter of 2014 from a year earlier.

The state’s 14 riverboat casinos, four racetrack casinos, and the land-based casino in New Orleans employ 14,051 people, according to the Louisiana Gaming Association.  The average salary is $25,000.  When healthcare and other benefits are added, the average salary increases to $31,863.

Are you ready for some polls?

As expected, polls are beginning to pop up everywhere for races in Louisiana in 2015.  The main interest is, of course, in the governor’s race.

But also getting attention is the Attorney General’s race as well as a race for the U.S. Senate should Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter get elected governor.

Here are:the polls taken in January:

Governor’s Race

Two polls have been released recently dealing with the governor’s race.  One was conducted by OnMessage Inc.of Annapolis, Maryland, who polls for Gov. Bobby Jindal.  Here are the results of that poll:

*New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) – 28%.

*U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R) – 27%.

*State Treasurer John Kennedy (R) – 11%.

*Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) – 11%.

*Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (R) – 6%.

*State Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) – 4%.

*Undecided – 13%.

Another poll on the governor’s race was commissioned by state Treasurer John Kennedy.  It was conducted by North Star Opinion Research of Alexandria, Virginia, and did not include Landrieu.  Here are those results:

Vitter (R) 24%, Edwards (D) 20%, Kennedy (R) 13%, Dardenne (R) 10%, Angelle (R) 2%, and Undecided 12%.

A recent poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research of Baton Rouge on the governor’s race did not include Kennedy.  Without Kennedy, the results were Vitter 36%, Edwards 26%, Dardenne 19%,  Angelle 3%, and 16% undecided.

Attorney General’s Race

Kennedy also commissioned North Star Opinion Research to do a poll on the Attorney General’s race as he tries to decide if he will seek another office other than Treasurer.  Here are those results:

*Treasurer John Kennedy (R) – 23%.

*Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy (D) – 18%.

*Incumbent AG Buddy Caldwell (R) – 17%.

    *Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Landry (R) –19%.

*Undecided – 32%.

U.S.Senate Race

Kennedy also asked North Star Opinion Research to poll a U.S. Senate race should Vitter be elected governor.  Here are those results:

*Mitch Landrieu (D) – 39%.

*John Kennedy (R) – 18%.

*U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (R) – 13%.

*U.S. Rep. John Fleming (R) – 7%.

*Undecided – 23%.

As one can see, Kennedy appears bored with his job as state Treasurer and is looking at running for another statewide office.  He has not made a definite decision.

The polls indicate that Kennedy would have a good shot at the Attorney General’s job.  The big question there is where would Democrat Jacques Roy’s vote go if he does not enter the race.

What has caught the attention of pundits is the strong showing by Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in the polls for governor and the U.S. Senate.

The polls were conducted on the heels of his sister, Mary, being defeated in her re-election bid for the U.S. Senate.  Most pundits do not believe he  will run for either post and will be content to remain as mayor the Big Easy.

It is still early, and there will certainly be many more polls before the field of candidates is established in all of these races.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.