Louisiana Legislature Passes Sports Betting Regulation Bill, Heads To Governor

Posted on June 10, 2021

Even with a portion of the state blocked out, Louisiana will provide residents with more options to bet on sports than any state in the nation.

The Louisiana Senate concurred with minor House changes to the sports betting regulatory bill Thursday. The bill now heads to the governor, who signed the sports betting tax and lottery participation bill Monday.

The Senate had rejected the House amendments Tuesday, sending the bill to conference committee. But it turned out the Senate just needed a couple more days to accept the changes. The Senate approved the bill 33-3 Thursday.

Together, the legislation set up Louisiana to have the most widespread sports betting of any state in the country.

Sen. Page Cortez’s S 247 creates 20 sports betting licenses for Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino and four racetracks. Each licensee may offer two online skins. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation also may have an online site, making it possible for 41 sports betting apps.

But retail locations with sports betting are where Louisiana will really separate itself from other states.

In addition to the 20 gaming properties, Rep. John Stefanski’s H 697 allows for sports wagering kiosks at thousands of bars, restaurants and truck stops across most of the state. Except for in the nine parishes that voted against sports betting.

Louisiana sports betting legislation details

Additional details for the Louisiana sports betting bills:

  • Appoints the Louisiana Gaming Control Commission to oversee sports betting.
  • Authorizes wagering on professional sportscollege sportsOlympic and international competition, and esports.
  • Taxes online wagering at 15% and in-person wagering at 10%.
  • Casinos pay $500,000 for a five-year license with a $250,000 application fee.
  • Platform providers pay $100,000 to apply for a five-year license that costs $50,000.
  • Service providers pay $50,000 to apply for a five-year license that costs $25,000.
  • If casinos and racetracks don’t take all 20 licenses by Jan. 1, fantasy sports operators and video poker establishments may apply for open licenses to do mobile.
  • The nine parishes that didn’t vote for sports betting must be geofenced out by online applications.
  • Louisiana tribal casinos don’t receive mention in any of the bills. However, they would get sports betting because may offer the same games as casinos.

Nine Louisiana parishes left out

Last November, 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes voted for sports betting.

Here are the nine that voted against sports wagering:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • LaSalle
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

Residents of these parishes who voted against the bill might have understood that they were stopping online sports betting sites from operating in the state.

However, they probably didn’t realize they were hurting local businesses by stopping them from getting sports betting kiosks. The difference in votes was fewer than 300 in seven of the parishes.

Each parish also will not receive its percentage of sports betting tax revenue shared by the state.

What’s left before Louisianans can bet on sports

The legislature waited to the final day of the legislative session for final passage on the sports betting regulatory bill. Lawmakers also left the sports betting allocation bill to the final day.

The Senate rejected House changes to Sen. Rick Ward’s S 142 on Thursday morning. Legislative leaders then went to conference committee to work out the following details:

  • About 60% to the general fund
  • 25% up to $20 million to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund
  • 10% to each parish governing authority where wagering occurred
  • The greater of 2% or $500,000 to the Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund
  • 2.5% to the Sports Wagering Purse Supplemental Fund
  • 2% up to $500,000 to the Disability Affairs Trust Fund

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected to sign the bills. He didn’t sign the tax bill without plans to sign the regulatory and allocation bills. He’ll have 20 days to act once the latter bills hit his desk.

Lawmakers gave the Louisiana Gaming Control Commission every advantage to get sports wagering up and running by the football season this fall. Late amendments made the effective date July 1, permitted potential licensees to obtain temporary permits to operate during the NFL season, and allowed them to launch mobile applications before physical sportsbooks.

“I’m very optimistic we’ll have sports betting in Louisiana by the NFL season,” Stefanski told PlayLouisiana previously. “I think with this provisional language, we can be up by football season, I really do.”

Photo by Brynn Anderson / The Associated Press
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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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