Regulation Bill Clears Louisiana Senate To Push Sports Betting Ahead

Posted on May 20, 2021
sports betting in Louisiana
Posted By on May 20, 2021

The main regulatory bill for sports betting in Louisiana passed the state Senate on Wednesday.

Senate President Patrick Page Cortez’s LA sports betting regulation bill, SB 247, passed 31-6. It now heads to the House.

“Once again, Louisiana finds itself following the lead of states around us,” Sen. Ronnie Johns said on the floor. “This vote today was actually taken this past fall when 65% of people in this stat said we want to do this. The people have spoken on this.”

SB 142, an appropriations bill for sports betting in Louisiana, and a tax bill, HB 697, are scheduled for the Senate floor Thursday.

Should the bills pass, amendments appear to put Louisiana sports betting in line to launch by NFL betting season.

Sports betting bill push from trio in Louisiana

The trio of bills are a package put together to enact Louisiana sports betting. Voters in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes approved the industry in November 2020.

“Our constituents in the fall of last year, went to the ballot and voted in favor of us doing what we’re here to do today, to simply put in place the rules and regulations necessary to allow for sports wagering,” Sen. Rick Ward said while presenting the bill.

“I went through and looked at all our senate districts, every single senate district voted in favor of this.”

Cortez, Ward and Rep. John Stefanski are the primary sponsors of the bills. The Senate bills also list Johns as a co-author.

Quick call to Louisiana Senate floor

Following a brief committee meeting on May 12, SB 247 was called to the floor Wednesday. The Senate adopted four amendments that largely changed technical language.

One amendment changed the effective date to July 1, 2021. Another amendment adds temporary licenses “to get through the football season,” according to Ward’s floor statement.

Sports betting regulations

The bill lays out the base regulations for sportsbooks in Louisiana.

It authorizes 20 licenses in Louisiana with two mobile skins each:

  • 15 riverboat casinos
  • Four racetracks
  • A land-based casino

Geofencing would limit mobile bets to the 55 Louisiana parishes that approved sports betting in November.

Louisiana tax journey smooth

Stefanski authored HB 697 and guided it through both chambers. It passed the House on May 10.

The taxation bill originated in the House, as tax bills must start in the chamber according to Louisiana law and pass by a two-thirds vote. If the Senate passes without amendments, it will head to the governor.

Assuming passage Thursday, HB 697’s journey is the opposite of the taxation bill for daily fantasy sports. A Stefanski bill for DFS last year ended a two-year journey after voters approved it in 2018.

Sports betting taxation details

HB 697 levies a 10% tax on in-person retail bets and 15% on mobile bets.

Mobile sports betting in Louisiana was a key piece to include in the legislation for its revenue potential, Stefanski said previously.

The state could generate up to $20 million annually in sports betting revenue, Stefanski asserts.

Stefanski adds Louisiana Lottery component

Along with establishing taxation, Stefanski’s bill adds a sports betting license for the Louisiana Lottery. Stefanski incorporated the lottery component into the tax bill because it also requires a two-thirds vote.

The lottery element provides for local bars and restaurants to participate in LA sports betting.

The bill provides for a mobile component with the lottery bill, as well as kiosks for the local establishments.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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