Louisiana Sports Betting Officially In The Hands Of Voters

Louisiana Sports Betting Officially In The Hands Of Voters
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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed Senate Bill 130 and the question of legalizing sports betting in the state will now be on the November ballot.

With Edwards’ signature, voters in the state’s 64 parishes get final say on whether or not they want sports betting in their locales. After he signed it on June 11, the bill became Act No. 215.

RELATED: Learn more about Louisiana gaming

If approved by voters, the state legislature would still need to set up regulations and a tax rate. It could also consider mobile sports betting. Getting regulations and a tax rate in place for Daily Fantasy Sports has taken nearly two years since it was approved by voters in 47 parishes in 2018.

Louisiana becomes the third state to have a sports betting question on the November ballot, joining South Dakota and Maryland. California is also trying to place a sports betting referendum on the ballot. It would legalize sports betting at the tribal casinos and horse tracks in the state.

Act No. 215, will ask voters this question: Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish, yes or no.

Daily Fantasy Sports Almost There

Edwards last week also signed the bill setting up fantasy sports regulations in the state.

The state House Committee on Ways And Means advanced legislation on June 11 that determines tax rates for fantasy sports. It is still in committee but should soon be moved to the full House. The bill sets an 8% tax on fantasy sports contests, according to The Corner Square.

If the tax legislation gets approval in the legislature and is signed by Edwards, fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuel still need to apply for licenses with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, according to the Associated Press.

Sports Betting Could Provide Economic Boost

Like every state, Louisiana is dealing with a budget deficit caused by the coronavirus. Gambling already exists in Louisiana at casinos, riverboats and video poker machines. Most reopened weeks ago after closing in mid-March.

But the state hasn’t had much success with sports betting legislation. It looked like it would pass in 2019, but got bogged down in politics and could not reach the two-thirds threshold required by state law in Louisiana.

Mississippi and Arkansas take sports bets, but only at casinos, which were closed for months because of the coronavirus. They have reopened in both states, but not having mobile sports betting meant no tax revenue for months.

Now that Edwards has signed the bill letting voters approve of sports betting and the legislature can get through the process of setting regulations and tax rates, it’s possible the first sports bet in Louisiana could be taken in 2021.

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