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Sports betting on Bourbon Street? Well, maybe not, but Louisiana is the latest state to introduce a bill that would legalize sports gambling.
The new bill — H 245 — surfaced this week. What does it do?
It would expand gaming at “eligible live horse racing facilities,” including sports wagering, by amending existing gaming law. It would appear to cover the state’s four racinos:
The bill does not authorize mobile or online sports wagering.
For the purposes of the bill, sports wagering can take place “on any type of sports event, including but not limited to football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, tennis, wrestling, jai alai, or other sports contest or event.”
Regulation falls under the purview of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
The bill also calls for a referendum to authorize gambling in any parish where it might take place:
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no gaming activities shall be allowed in an eligible facility in any parish unless the operation and conducting of gaming activities pursuant to this Chapter has first been approved at an election held for such purpose.
Louisiana has a wide array of gaming already in place, including riverboat casinos and tribal gaming facilities. It’s not clear how successful an effort only to authorize wagering at the racinos might be.
Last month, officials had sounded tepid on possible sports betting legalization.
Most of the movement on possible sports betting regulation has taken place in the East and Midwest so far. We’re approaching two dozen states that have considered sports betting in the past calendar year.
Mississippi took steps last year to legalize wagering, but follow-up action has been slow in 2018.