Louisiana’s House Sports Betting Bill Moves To Senate
- Three bills on the table for legalizing, regulating, and taxing sports betting in LA
- Voters previously indicated majority support for legal sports wagering in 2020
- Wagering not likely to come to pass until 2022
Louisiana voters might be well on their way to having fully regulated and legal sports betting. Recently, lawmakers in the Louisiana House moved a bill forward to give the Louisiana Lottery Corporation the authority to conduct wagering on sporting events. It’s likely that the bill will make it through both chambers, but needs to pass along with regulatory and tax structure bills before the voters get access to sportsbooks.
Earlier Votes Indicated Public Support for Sports Betting
Sports wagering was “voted in” by the Louisiana public in 2020 (Act 215). Though there was support for the practice in a majority of Louisiana parishes, an actual bill authorizing sports betting still needs to make its way through the legislature, in addition to structural and appropriation bills (the latter of which will define who gets the tax revenue). However, that may be just around the bend with more recent developments. Now it’s up to legislators to:
- Pass a bill that will authorize the lottery to administer sports betting, and to set up a tax structure on the revenue from wagering (HB 697)
- Set up a licensing structure for operators, who will then apply to offer online and retail betting through the LGCB (SB 202)
- Authorize the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) and the LA State Police’s Gaming Division to oversee and enforce betting law. (SB 142)
That’s what we’re seeing right now in the Louisiana State Legislature, with three bills making their way up the ladder with the hope that they’ll be signed into law for early 2022.
Structuring Bills Up Next for LA State Legislature
The above list of bills isn’t just a theoretical list: there are existing bills moving through the legislature right now. HB 697 is the bill authorizing the lottery to conduct sports wagering. Said bill is sponsored by Rep. John Stefanski (R), and it’s already gotten approval from the House. The bill is now awaiting approval from the LA Senate and is expected to pass, as it has bipartisan sponsorship and relatively popular companion bills waiting in the wings.
Louisiana Senate President Page Cortez (D) is the primary sponsor of SB 202, a companion to HB 697 intended to determine the regulator of sports betting in the Pelican State. The LGCB will take the helm in setting up guidelines and issuing licenses to interested parties. Senator Rick Ward (R)’s SB 142 establishes that the state police’s Gaming Division will be responsible for collecting fees and revenue. As things stand, HB 697 imposes a tax of 18% on mobile bets, expected to reach an annual figure of $20 million in revenue according to Rep. Stefanski.
Due to the fact that only 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted “Yes” on sports wagering in 2020, only those parishes are expected to get access to legal wagering once bills are finalized into law. As previously mentioned, one bill (HB 697) has already made it through its chamber and needs approval from the Senate, but may get bounced to the committee.
Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. If the bill is able to make it through the Senate, however, it will still not be until 2022 before we see sports betting become legal in the Pelican State. The text of the licensing bill, SB 202, sets January 1st, 2022 as the deadline for applying for a sports betting license, so that’s the earliest we can expect to see the practice go live in LA (should all three bills get signed into law).
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Chris Altman is a traveling writer and content specialist covering everything from betting to plane crashes. He has been working in sports betting, specifically legislation for some time now, covering industry developments and the legal landscape of sportsbooks in the U.S. Chris is also a published short story writer and zine editor. Email: [email protected]