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Anti-Gambling Bill Stalls in Senate

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BATON ROUGE, La. - A bill promoted as anti-gambling stalled on the Senate floor after opponents described it as pro-gambling.

The measure by Senator Max Malone would allow voters in one precinct of Bossier Parish to hold a referendum on whether to ban video poker. Malone described it as a move to allow anti-gambling residents to get rid of gambling in their neighborhoods. But Senator Rob Marionneaux said the measure would set a precedent leading to a "hodgepodge" of different gambling laws around the state, precinct by precinct.

Senator Robert Barham said the measure amounted to a pro-gambling bill because it would lead to other precincts holding votes that would result in their allowing video poker, expanding gambling statewide.

The Senate didn't vote to pass or reject the measure. Instead, senators voted 27-to-6 to send the bill to a judiciary committee chaired by Marionneaux.

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