Louisiana Sports Betting Bill is Dead for 2019

After months of trying to get a sports betting bill approved, lawmakers in Louisiana ran out of time as the measure failed to gain enough momentum for approval.

The failure of the sports betting was punctuated with another failure by lawmakers; the approval of a daily fantasy sports tax that would have legalized daily fantasy for the state.

Voters approved daily fantasy sports in 47 of 63 parishes last year in the state but were waiting on lawmakers to finalize a tax structure that would bring the games to residents.

It has been a long and tortured road for the sports betting bill in Louisiana. A few weeks ago, the House Appropriations Committee loaded the measure down with poison pill amendments.

The move effectively killed the bill after the state Senate had already approved the measure.

But the Senate found a loophole and passed the original daily fantasy bill, House Bill 459, then attached a rider that would legalize sports betting in the state.

The state Senate’s power play failed to gather support in the House and the bickering from both sides led to the eventual demise of all proposals.

With the legislature restricted by law to only consider new taxation every other year, there is a high probability that daily fantasy sports might not be back up for debate until 2021.

The only workaround to that dilemma is if Governor John Bel Edwards calls for a special session to remedy the issues plaguing the bill.

What’s Next for Louisiana’s Sports Betting Bill?

There are two potential issues that could cause sports betting to stall once more when it is brought up for approval in 2020.

The first issue is that the legislator who sponsored the Senate bill and is known for his expertise of the gaming industry, Sen. Danny Martiny, will soon be out of office.

Martiny is close to hitting his term limit and will soon be replaced by voters. Experts have said that losing Sen. Martiny will be a tough blow for the sports betting bill in the state.

The second issue is that lawmakers don’t return for another legislative session until March of 2020, close to nine months away.

With a spot of irony, perhaps, when the daily fantasy bill came back to the Senate floor for debate, Sen. Martiny essentially filibustered the remaining minutes of the session, killing the measure’s chances.

As the clock struck 6 p.m. signaling the end of the session, Martiny told his fellow Senators, “I don’t like the way I was treated (by the House.)”

“As usual, we’re going to be two years behind everyone else…In our quest to be No. 50 in everything, here’s another one,” Martiny said on the Senate floor.

“You do what you want. I’m just telling you we’re the laughing stock of the country.”

Chances are significant that Sen. Martiny will never have the opportunity to vote again on his sports betting legislation in Louisiana.

With other states approving sports betting and daily fantasy sports, Louisiana will be left behind until legislators reach a compromise and approve both bills.