Louisiana Passes Sports Wagering Bill on Session’s Final Day

Louisiana Passes Sports Wagering Bill on Session’s Final Day
© USA Today

On the last day, the legislature in Louisiana got it done.

The last bill in the sports betting process, SB 247 — the state’s regulatory sports betting legislation — was back in Senate Conference Committee after it was received from the House with amendments on Sunday and was rejected by a vote of 36-0 on Tuesday.

Thursday morning, amendments proposed by the House were read and concurred by a vote of 33-3 in favor, passing the Senate and heading to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Last Thursday, the state’s House Chamber voted 78-15 to approve SB 247.

On May 19, the Senate passed the bill 31-6, and moved it to the House for last week’s vote.

How Money Will Be Distributed

One other bill, SB 142, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Ward III (R, District 17), provides for the distribution of funds generated by sports wagering. On Thursday, the state Senate at first rejected some amendments to that bill and is now currently pending in conference committee and awaiting to see if a reconsideration vote will be taken, similar to what happened to SB 247 earlier in the day.

On Wednesday afternoon the bill was read a third time by title, amended and approved by a vote of 94-8. The bill has been delivered to the Senate.

Rep. John Stefanski gave members a breakdown of how the funds would be distributed: 60% to a statewide general fund, 25% to early childhood programs, 12% to locals, 2% behavioral programs such treatment for gambling addiction and 1% to the state’s horsemen’s fund.

The state will distribute 20 licenses among 15 current casinos and five racinos, with two skins per license.

On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed into law HB 697, a tax bill sponsored by Stefanski with 13 co-authors. It authorizes the Louisiana Lottery to conduct sports wagering and levies a tax on sports gaming. A 10% tax will be levied on local retail establishments with a sports betting kiosk and 15% on mobile platforms. That bill passed 32-4 on May 20.

The two main elements of legislation — HB 697, SB247 — have approved Louisiana Sports Betting to go live and become operational, with HB 697 already signed by the governor.

Sports Betting Will Be Legal in 55 Parishes

In November 2020, 55 of Louisiana’s 63 parishes voted to approve sports betting and the process of passing the Louisiana sports wagering legislation began in early April.

Retail establishments that have a Class A retail license, where alcohol can be sold, can apply to have a sports wagering kiosk, but convenience stores can't have them.