Louisiana Sports Betting Ballot Question: What You Should Know Before You Vote

Posted on October 27, 2020

Three states, including Louisiana, will decide whether or not to allow sports betting this election.

None of the votes in Louisiana, Maryland or South Dakota will lead to sports betting launching in the near future, however. The votes in all three states are simple yes/no votes that will require further action from each legislature if sports betting is approved.

Here’s what we know about the vote to potentially approve sports betting in Louisiana:

What is the Louisiana sports betting referendum question?

Louisiana’s question is simple but reflects a big difference compared to the other two states:

“Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of _____?”

Louisiana is the only one of the three states that will let residents legalize sports betting based in their individual parish, or county. That means if Orleans Parish legalized sports betting and no other parish did, there could still be legal sports betting in New Orleans.

When would legal sports betting in Louisiana be available?

When legal sports wagering could start in Louisiana all comes down to how quickly the legislature works next year.

Unlike Maryland and South Dakota, Louisiana will need two bills to allow sports betting to start. Along with enabling legislation that will detail sports betting rules, the legislature also needs to pass a taxation bill.

That’s led to a delay in legal daily fantasy sports contests in the past. DFS is still not live in the state despite a public vote and the taxation bill passing in 2018.

What are the current legal betting options for Louisianans?

There aren’t many legal sports betting options for Louisianans right now, even though two border states allow it.

There’s legal sports betting in Mississippi and Arkansas, though neither state allows mobile betting. That means bettors need to visit land-based casinos in either state to place their bets.

Of course, Louisianans also have the option to use illegal offshore operators to bet, which leaves everyone in the US without tax revenue and bettors without regulatory protection.

Would mobile sports betting be legalized?

It seems all but certain that mobile betting would be legalized in Louisiana.

Multiple gaming companies are funding Louisiana Wins, which is calling for voters to pass sports betting for education funding. Those companies include DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and casino operators Boyd Gaming, Caesars and Penn National.

Louisiana Wins cites the $237 million to $332 million in annual operator revenue forecasted by Spectrum Gaming Group, which includes both retail and digital revenue.

Louisiana also has an opportunity to draw bettors from surrounding states with full mobile betting. That includes the lucrative state of Texas, which will likely be without legal sports betting for some time.

What are the chances of the referendum passing?

There are a few reasons why Louisiana will likely legalize sports betting this year.

The parish-by-parish voting suggests at least one parish will allow legal sports betting. If the vote falls similar to legalizing DFS contests then 47 of the state’s 64 parishes should approve.

The referendum also has support throughout the state from multiple news outlets, including the New Orleans Advocate and the Ouchita Citizen.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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