Gov. John Bel Edwards Finalizes Legislation For Louisiana Sports Betting

Posted on June 23, 2021

In the 55 parishes that voted for it last year, legal wagering on sports betting is officially now on its way. A package of Louisiana sports betting bills that draw out parameters for the gambling expansion is now law with the signature of LA Gov. John Bel Edwards.

HB 697, SB 142, and SB 247 contain provisions that enable a regulated market in most of LA to come to life. It’s a great accomplishment for the state, given that the same took nearly two years to finalize enabling legislation for the last voter-approved gaming addition.

Louisiana sports betting bills now law with Edwards’ signature

Edwards signed HB 697 earlier this month but the finalization of the Senate bills came on Tuesday. Altogether, the new laws lay out a clear framework for several matters pertinent to the nascent Louisiana sports betting industry. Those include:

  • Detailing how many licenses are available and who can apply for them
  • Forming parameters for events permissible for wagering
  • Giving the LA Gaming Control Commission oversight powers
  • Setting license fees and tax rates
  • Specifying which state- and parish-level funds will receive tax revenues and how much each recipient will get

The Commission will still have some work to do on the regulatory side. For example, the bills are silent on whether LA sportsbooks will have to settle any bets using “official” league data. Further rules will probably also govern the placement of betting kiosks at bars and restaurants in the appropriate parishes as well.

Perhaps most importantly right now, the Commission has the task of preparing license application forms. Just the fact that the state government has essentially handed this matter off to the Commission seven months after the elections is a victory in and of itself.

Baton Rouge defied its reputation

Given the recent track record of moving on voter-approved gaming expansion, that timeframe boasts rapid action. In 2018, voters in 47 of the 64 parishes in LA approved real money daily fantasy sports contests.

However, enabling legislation and final regulations for DFS games didn’t make it through Baton Rouge until December 2020. At the time, it seemed a bad omen for the same action on the sports betting front. Now, it seems those fears were unjustified.

There’s no set timeline for when legal sportsbooks in LA parishes might actually start accepting wagers. However, the sponsor of HB 697, Rep. John Stefanski, is optimistic. He believes they could be ready by the start of the next New Orleans Saints season.

Even if they don’t accomplish that goal, things are already ahead of the curve with Edwards’ signature on the new laws. So far, it looks like the necessary parties are making this a priority.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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