New procedures

Starting next month, state police will have a lot more to report to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board than Harrah’s New Orleans Casino’s monthly revenue figures.

Under a plan adopted at Tuesday’s gaming board meeting, state police also will track the number of full- and part-time casino employees, how much they earn and who’s getting free or discounted meals each month.

These measures will allow gaming regulators to make sure that the casino is in compliance with stipulations in the new law, passed by the Legislature in March, authorizing a $50 million tax cut for the casino.

The law requires the gambling hall to preserve at least 90 percent of the jobs and cut no more than 10 percent of the salary total from the level March 8, the day the gaming board approved a new casino operating contract.

“I think it’s about time. I’m glad there is a monitoring mechanism that is being put in place,” said Sen. Diana Bajoie, D-New Orleans, who wrote the employment guarantee portion of the law. “If we’re going to give them that kind of tax break, we need to make sure that the numbers of employees are maintained.”

State police will have the audited March 8 employment figures from JCC Holding Co., the owner of the casino, available next month. They plan to verify the number of casino employees from that date but use salary figures from March 15, the nearest payday, audit director Susan Demouy said.

The gaming board chose to have state police count the number of full- and part-time employees instead of a more complicated measure that would have converted the number of hours worked by part-time employees into full-time equivalents.

State police also will record the total amount of money paid to casino employees during the biweekly pay periods that most closely coincide with the month of the revenue report. This portion of the report will track the total base wages paid to casino workers, excluding tips and the value of benefits.

The combination of the number of jobs and the amount of wages should give an accurate picture of what’s happening at the casino. If Harrah’s keeps lots of employees on the employment rolls but doesn’t give them many hours, payroll numbers should reveal it.

“You’ve still got that salary level as a check,” said Jay Quinlan, director of the attorney general’s gaming unit.