Louisiana Lawmakers to Start Process to Legalize Sports Betting

Louisiana Lawmakers to Start Process to Legalize Sports Betting
© USA Today

Louisiana voters have made their voices heard, and they would like to see legalized sports betting in their state. In November 2020, 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to approve Louisiana sports betting.

Now, lawmakers are tasked with putting Louisiana sports wagering parameters into place. The legislature must pass two bills, with one including language for regulation and licensing procedures and another setting the tax rate.

Senate President Page Cortez will sponsor the bill setting up rules for betting on live-action games. He estimates Louisiana could see anywhere from $10 million to $20 million a year from taxes on sports wagering. But according to the Associated Press, that figure is only attainable if the state allows mobile sports wagering, which he will propose.

Those who back early childhood education are hopeful money generated from sports betting can be used to expand access to early learning programs. Speaking Wednesday at a legislative leadership conference sponsored by policy group, Elevate Louisiana, Cortez said he believes in increased spending for those programs but would rather do it through general tax collections than using the sports betting tax dollar on a specific program.

On November, South Dakota and Maryland voters also approved of expanding sports betting in their states. South Dakota has already passed a bill and Maryland should have legislation approved this weekend.

Legislature in Session on Monday

With the Louisiana legislature in session on Monday, lawmakers could discuss key topics such as which live action sports can be wagered on, where the bets can take place and who gets to participate.

There will be plenty of interested parties. Louisiana has 13 riverboat casinos, a land-based casino in New Orleans and four racinos. Operators of video poker devices found at bars or restaurants may also want to feature legalized sports betting at their locations, too.

But given the history in Louisiana, legal sports betting could be a ways off. For example, voters approved Daily Fantasy Sports in 2018 but regulations were not approved until December 2020.

RELATED: More about Gambling Online in Louisiana

Two Bills Include Online Betting

SB 195 and SB 202 both propose online wagering.

Sen. Cameron Henry is the sponsor of SB 195. The bill limits the number of licenses to 20 without the lottery. It would allow 15 riverboat casinos, four race tracks and the state’s land-based casino to apply for a sports betting license. According to language in the bill, licensees can partner with as many as three “branded websites which can have an accompanying mobile application bearing the same brand as the website.” Bets under this bill may only be placed on the premise of the licensee or at the allowed retail establishment.

SB 202 would allow up to 20 licenses, with 15 going to licensed riverboats, four to horse racing tracks and one to the land-based casino. Other licenses could be granted to fantasy sports operators and licensed video poker establishments. License holders would be eligible to partner with up to two skins. The bill also provides a license to the state lottery for online wagering.

Caesars Presence in Louisiana

One of the biggest names in gaming is reportedly close to a naming rights deal in the state. In March, it was reported Caesars Entertainment is close to signing a deal with the New Orleans Saints to become the name rights sponsor of the Superdome.

The deal is rumored to earn $10 million annually for the next 20 years for the team. It would be the first gaming-related deal for an NFL stadium.

Caesars operates Louisiana’s only land-based casino, Harrah’s in New Orleans.