BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council voted, 7-4, with one abstention, in favor of creating a special license for casinos that will allow them to sell alcohol past 2 a.m. — unlike other Baton Rouge bars and stores.
The Advocate reports Baton Rouge's casinos, while open 24 hours a day, are the only ones in the state that shut off alcohol sales at 2 a.m., per local law.
The change, approved Wednesday, won't go into effect for 12 days unless the mayor-president signs it into law sooner, and then the casinos will have to purchase their $5,000 licenses.
All three of Baton Rouge's casinos have said they supported the change in the law and would purchase the license to extend their alcohol sales.
Geno Iafrate, executive vice president for regional operations at Pinnacle Entertainment which runs L'auberge casino, told the council the move would simply level the playing field for Baton Rouge casinos competing with other Louisiana and Gulf Coast casinos.
"For me it's about competing for conventions, it's about economic development, and it's about jobs," said Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle, who proposed the amendment.
Councilwoman Tara Wicker asked if expanding sales to casinos would "open the flood gates" for other Baton Rouge businesses hoping to extend their hours.
Under the proposal, alcohol can only be sold after 2 a.m. on the floor where gambling takes place, and in bars and restaurants that can be accessed only by those floors.