Louisiana Sports Betting Referendum One Step Closer To Reality

Written By Matthew Kredell on May 26, 2020
Louisiana sports betting progress

Both chambers of the Louisiana legislature agree that voters should have the opportunity approve legalization of sports betting in November.

However, they are going to go into the final week of the legislative session to work out a small detail.

The Louisiana House could have passed Sen. Cameron Henry’s bill Friday to put Louisiana sports betting in front of state parishes and been done with it.

Instead, Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee opted to push for his own sports betting referendum with a technical addition. The bill passed by a vote of 73-23.

Technical change delays LA sports betting passage

Magee’s H 357 has the same language for the sports wagering ballot question as Henry’s bill, which passed in the Senate last week by a vote of 29-9.

Magee’s bill adds a section that “participation in sports wagering … shall not be considered gambling by computer.”

Henry explained to Legal Sports Report that the language is to allow casinos to input someone’s wager into a computer.

He supports the language and would include it in the regulatory bill that the legislature passes next session.

What’s next for Louisiana sports wagering

Magee’s bill now heads to the Senate, where it will need to go through a committee before reaching the Senate floor.

Henry’s bill is scheduled for debate on the House floor Wednesday. The House could move for final passage, putting the question of sports wagering on the Louisiana ballot.

He said he would be fine with amending his bill to include the added language in Magee’s bill. If the House took that route, the bill would need to return to the Senate for concurrence.

Henry said that he doesn’t care what legislative leaders decide to do as long as a sports betting referendum bill gets final passage before the Louisiana session adjourns June 1.

“The most important thing is to get sports wagering on the ballot to give the people of Louisiana the choice of if they want it in their parish,” Henry said.

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Matthew Kredell

Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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