The lack of a gambling regulatory chief is currently holding up Louisiana’s implementation of sports betting as legalized in a package of bills recently signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
“It’s a little bit of a hiccup,” one of the bills’ sponsors, Senate President Page Cortez, recently told The Daily Advertiser.
What’s (not) happening with sports betting in Louisiana
Louisiana sports betting law actually includes an emergency clause to speed up implementation, but a framework of rules and regulations must be agreed to and put forth by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board before that can happen. This would have likely happened during the spring legislative session but for the lack of a chief regulator.
According to Cortez, prior to his recent departure, former chairman Mike Noel had expressed optimism about sports betting being up and running in early 2022.
Per the new laws, the new framework includes or will include:
- License availability and eligibility info
- What events permit wagering
- Oversight powers
- Fees and taxes
- Who gets tax revenues and how much they receive
- The application of official league data in settling wagers
- Kiosk placement
55 Parishes Are Waiting to Bet
Fifty-five Louisiana parishes voted to approve legal sports betting last fall. Approval was not passed in the nine remaining parishes, so geofencing technology will prevent mobile sports betting in those communities:
- West Carroll
Lake Charles Senator Ronnie Johns verified the reliability of geofencing after observing it at work in New Jersey.
Search For A Chief Regulator Is Underway
Johns recently confirmed that he and the governor have spoken regarding the Gaming Control Board’s open position and according to Edward’s spokesperson, Christina Stephen, the governor is “working to find a commissioner with the right skill and experience.”
The opening exists as a result of Mike Noel’s June 9 resignation. According to the Daily Advertiser, his action has been attributed to a reluctance to go through a Senate confirmation hearing, which may have included questions about Noel’s involvement as State Police commander during the fatal arrest of a Black motorist, Mr. Ronald Greene, in 2019. (This matter is still being investigated.)
Looking Ahead in LA sports betting
When a new chairman is selected and sports betting implementation begins, it will be Louisiana’s farthest-reaching gambling expansion since the early 1990s. The most crucial first step for the Commission may be the designing of application forms, 20 of which will be made available, with first refusal options, for already existing casinos and racetracks.
Fifteen of those licenses will go to Louisiana’s riverboat casinos, four to horse racing tracks, and one to a land-based casino. To be eligible, applicants will have to construct a retail sportsbook.
Other steps will result in:
- Internet betting via smartphones and other devices
- Betting kiosks at restaurants/bars
- Vegas-style sportsbooks at casinos/racetracks
- “Skins” for contracting with mobile app suppliers made available to sportsbook license recipients. One skin would go to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.
Sports betting tax revenue will be distributed in this manner:
- 60%: general fund
- 25%: early education
- 12%: parishes
- 2%: gambling addiction programs
- 1%: sports wagering purse fund for horse racing