Louisiana Legislature Passes Sports Betting Ballot Bill

Louisiana Legislature Passes Sports Betting Ballot Bill
© PA

The Louisiana House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 71-24 to approve SB 130, which sends the question of legalizing sports betting to voters in the state’s 64 parishes.

The legislation still needs Gov. John Bel Edwards’ signature, but Edwards was re-elected in November and has been a gambling proponent while in office.

RELATED: Learn more about Louisiana gaming

SB 130, sponsored by Sen. Cameron Henry, will ask voters the following question: Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish, yes or no. Similar bills from Sen. Ronnie Johns and Rep. Tanner D. Magee also had progressed through both chambers.

If voters say yes to sports betting in Louisiana in November, the legislature would still need to pass state laws providing for the licensing, regulation and taxation of sports betting. It could also consider mobile sports betting.

Tax issues are only taken up by the Louisiana legislature in odd-numbered years, so if lawmakers can't finalize regulations in 2021, it would further delay sports betting.

Neighboring Mississippi and Arkansas are already taking sports bets and gaining tax revenue. But both states only allow in-person sports betting at brick-and-mortar casinos. Casinos, closed for months because of the coronavirus, have recently reopened in both states.

Gambling already exists in Louisiana. There are casinos, riverboats and video poker machines, but Louisiana has struggled to get sports betting in front of voters.

Louisiana becomes the third state to have sports betting on the November ballot. South Dakota and Maryland have already approved legislation putting the sports betting question before voters.

Daily Fantasy Sports A Cautionary Tale

Even though Daily Fantasy Sports games were legalized by Louisiana voters in 47 of 64 parishes in 2018, the legislature did not reach agreement on regulations and tax rates in 2019. The House passed the DFS bills, but the regulation proposal fell one vote short of the needed two-thirds in the Senate and senators never voted on the tax measure, according to the Associated Press.

A bill before the Senate this year, brought by Sen. Barrow Peacock, was deferred earlier in this session.

But the legislature has called a special session to begin right after the normal session ends June 1 to consider budget items and fantasy sports regulations are on the agenda. The AP reported that it’s just the second time in state history that lawmakers have called a special session, rather than the governor.

The Louisiana legislature temporarily adjourned on March 16, less than a week into the current session, before returning several weeks ago.

Other States Will Ask Voters to Approve Sports Betting

South Dakota lawmakers passed legislation in March to put the question of legalizing sports betting on the November ballot. Voters will decide whether to allow sports betting in Deadwood, where the state’s casinos are located.

Later in March, the Maryland General Assembly approved a sports betting bill then adjourned early because of the coronavirus pandemic. If voters approve the measure in November, the legislature would have to work out how the state would implement sports betting.

Arkansas and Colorado are two other states that have approved sports betting with a referendum. Arkansas voters approved sports betting at physical sportsbooks in November 2018 and the state took its first bet in July 2019.

Colorado voters approved Proposition DD, which legalized sports betting, last November and the state took its first sports bet on May 1. The law in Colorado includes mobile and online sports betting.

If voters approve and their legislatures can set regulations and tax rates, the first sports bets in Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota could be taken in 2021.

Betting News Articles

Latest Betting News

DISCLAIMER: Online Wagering is illegal in some Jurisdictions. It is your responsibility to check your local regulations before playing online. GDC Trading Ltd takes no responsibility for your actions.
© 2011-2020 GDC Trading Limited. All Rights Reserved. Gambling.com is a registered trademark of GDC Trading Limited.
Terms and Conditions  |   Privacy Policy

Asset 4 Android GET IT ON facebook Download_on_the_App_Store_Badge_US-UK_RGB_blk_4SVG_092917 twitter