Louisiana Daily Fantasy Measure Approved by Parishes
Daily fantasy games are now legal in a collection of Louisiana's most populated parishes following a ballot measure as part of the 2018 midterm elections.
Louisiana joins more than 40 states with legal daily fantasy game operations. It is the first to do so on a jurisdiction-level ballot measure and is the only one to allow games in some parts of the state and not others.
State lawmakers still need to finalize regulatory and taxation requirements when they reconvene for the 2019 session, so the games will not be operation for several more months.
The state's six most populated parishes (East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, Caddo, St. Tammany and Lafayette) all supported the measure, highlighting support from the majority of Louisiana residents for the games.
The “yes” votes by supporting parishes end a stalemate by legislators as they debated how to handle the industry. About half of the 50 states formally legalized daily fantasy games in the past few years through legislative acts, and more than a dozen others have no law explicitly banning them, allowing them to operate freely.
In Louisiana, the games presented a conundrum, even in one of the nation’s most gambling-friendly states. Despite a robust casino industry, the state has a constitutional restriction against gambling. That means each and every form needs to be approved by parish, which is Louisiana’s equivalent to a county.
After several years of debate, officials put the approval before the voters for the 2018 ballot.
Unlike more contentious gambling-related measures in Florida as well as neighboring Arkansas, the Louisiana Daily Fantasy Measure received comparatively little consternation.
Leading providers like DraftKings and FanDuel, not surprisingly, led the promotional efforts to get voters to support the measure. A cavalcade of historical gambling opponents and religious groups, along with the state’s existing gambling industry, which feared daily fantasy could cut into their revenues, tried to galvanize “no” voters.
Neither group pumped in much financially into their respective campaigns, especially when compared to the millions raised in other states.
What Does This Mean for Louisiana Going Forward?
The “yes” votes bring Louisiana (or at least parts of) more in line with much of the rest of the country in terms of daily fantasy. It may spark a future development putting it at the forefront of the nation’s newest gambling opportunity.
Though single-game wagering on sporting events like football, basketball and football are still prohibited, this public vote of confidence toward one form of gambling may nudge lawmakers to take up stalled legalization bills in Baton Rouge.
With millions of dollars in tax revenue already coming to state coffers each year via its gambling industry, Louisiana has sought additional ways to generate more revenue – and keep up with regional competition. Mississippi is generating millions of dollars in sports wagers each month since it legalized betting earlier this year, much of it coming from Louisiana residents. A growing group of lawmakers are publicly clamoring for ways to keep that money in state.
The state is also about to see more competition to its north.
Arkansas voters approved a major gambling expansion measure, allowing casino gaming at two existing property and the rights to build two new casinos. The ballot measure also legalizes sports betting through these facilities, which could attract new gamblers that otherwise may have patronized casinos in northwest Louisiana.
With daily fantasy now approved by a contingent of voters, and untaped gambling opportunities emerging on its borders , Louisiana will likely now turn to sports betting, or other possible gambling avenues, as soon as next year.
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