Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Getting Closer in Louisiana
Even though voters in 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved Daily Fantasy Sports betting in 2018, residents haven’t been able to participate.
Rules and tax rates needed to be set by the Louisiana legislature and the process has been long and difficult. But it’s getting closer.
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A bill setting fantasy sports regulations was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday, according to The Center Square.
Legislation setting the tax rates for fantasy sports moved through the House Committee on Ways And Means in special session the same day, The Center Square reported. The bill sets an 8% tax on fantasy sports contests.
The fantasy regulations that were approved include having to be 21 to play for cash prizes and fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuel would need to be approved for licenses by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, according to the Associated Press.
In 2019, the legislature did not reach agreement on fantasy regulations and tax rates. The House passed the DFS bills, but the bill setting the rules for fantasy sports failed to reach needed two-thirds in the Senate. The tax measure wasn’t voted on in the Senate.
Sports Betting Goes to Voters
Legal sports betting is going down the same road. Much like fantasy sports in 2018, the state’s parishes will get a chance to approve sports betting before it heads back to the legislature for regulations and tax rates.
The Louisiana House of Representatives on May 27 voted 71-24 to approve SB 130, which sends the following question to voters: Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish, yes or no.
Louisiana became the third state with a sports betting referendum in the November election. South Dakota and Maryland also approved legislation putting the sports betting question before voters. California is also trying to advance a bill to put the question on the ballot.
How Did Fantasy Sports Get to This Point?
A fantasy sports bill came before the Senate this year, brought by Sen. Barrow Peacock, but he deferred it. During the hearing on the bill, Peacock cautioned lawmakers to make sure that sports betting didn’t go the way of fantasy sports, having voters approve it then not coming to agreement on regulations in the legislature.
But fantasy sports regulations were added to HB 357 late in the regular session and gained approval before the session ended June 1. Edwards signed it Thursday.
The legislature called a special session that began right after the regular session ended to take up budget issues. The fantasy tax rate legislation was introduced this week and advanced by the committee Thursday.
Peacock said this week that he hopes the fantasy sports taxation bill can get the required two-thirds vote in each chamber.
”We’ll see if it can get the votes,” Peacock said, adding that different stakeholders see fantasy sports as competition to their interests. “I am concerned the same thing will happen with sports wagering. It will be very close vote either way.”
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