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On Thursday of last week, Louisiana senators voted in favor of HB 697, the bill to authorize the LA Lottery to conduct legal sports wagering. Senators also approved SB 247, establishing licensing requirements and deadlines. This means not only that sports betting will be live in the Pelican State by 2022, but (pending approval of SB 247) operators will also likely be able to offer wagering on temporary licenses to be granted in July 2021.
While we reported that sports betting will not be officially live until 2022, an amendment to the text of SB 247 which passed the Senate last week allows for temporary sports betting licenses to be issued in Louisiana in July of 2021. The bill still awaits House approval, but as the House is already eager to move forward with this sports betting package in time to make some much-needed revenue from the NFL season, it’s most likely that SB 247 as-is will get the go-ahead.
The three bills necessary for sports betting to be conducted, taxed, and regulated are quickly making their way through the LA Legislature as a part of a comprehensive package to bring more revenue to the state. Right now SB 142 marks that money off for the state’s general fund, which is typically used to pay for government expenditures and overhead.
SB 142 may be amended to funnel revenue into education or elsewhere, as we’ve seen with other states. This is called the “appropriation” portion of the sports betting package and has not yet been decided on by legislators. SB 142 will be the trickiest part of the bill to pass, as many departments will want to benefit from extra revenue.
SB 247 is the “regulatory” portion of the sports betting package, which will establish license requirements and dole out licenses to eligible applicants. SB 247 passed through the Senate without incident and is awaiting expected House approval. The overarching bill to legalize the practice in the first place, HB 697, has Senate and House approval, and now must pass through a final House audit before making it to Governor John Bel Edwards’ (D) desk.
Essentially, we’re just waiting for the cards to fall into the right place in the Pelican State, whose Democratic governor has been open to sports wagering since PASPA was overturned in 2018. Once it became “legal” in a federal sense, legislators and state officials all across the United States began to eye sports wagering as a source of revenue for the state, with Bel Edwards indicating he would sign an appropriate package as soon as it made it to his desk. After 2020’s referendum vote, the only stopping block between Louisiana and a legal sports betting framework would be the House and Senate, who both are moving forward the three aforementioned bills with relative ease.
All that’s left to do is move the appropriation and regulatory framework bills through the legislature and get all three bills to Bel Edwards’ desk– the Governor is more than likely to sign. Fingers crossed, eligible residents of 55 parishes in Louisiana and their visitors will have access to betting by the time the first NFL coin toss is flipped.
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]More info on Chris Altman
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