Louisiana lawmakers are ready to begin working on officially legalizing sports betting in the Bayou. There has been a delay in introducing new sports betting bills for several reasons, but the race is now on to get something done in 2021.
For sports betting to launch in Louisiana, the legislature must pass a pair of bills. One of the bills will set the tax rate required of sportsbooks, and the other will create the sports betting rules.
The Senate is expected to focus on creating rules to govern the new industry, and Senate President Page Cortez is sponsoring a bill to do just that. Online sports betting will be a part of this legislation as other lawmakers believe that this is key to forming a respectable market.
The Senate will also need to determine where the new tax revenue will be going, but education programs should receive a large portion of the funds. Several other states, including Tennessee, devote a large chunk of sports betting tax revenue to education.
Could a Delay Be Coming?
Lawmakers have made it clear that sports betting will be discussed as early as Monday when the legislative session begins in Louisiana. Legislators will likely bring multiple bills to the table, and lawmakers will need to narrow their focus to just one piece of legislation.
The Louisiana legislature was faced with a similar task in 2018 after voters in the state approved a referendum to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports. It wasn’t until December 2020 that DFS action officially became legal in the state, and lawmakers are hoping for a much quicker resolution this time around.
As mentioned earlier, online sports betting is expected to be included in the bills brought forth on Monday. Louisiana is focused on allowing mobile betting, but nothing will be official until a law is in place.
A pair of bills are set to be introduced that discuss the potential number of licenses available, and at least 20 of them are expected. Riverboat casinos would get the first shot at applying for a license, but horse racing tracks could also be in play.
The Louisiana Lottery will be authorized to offer online sports betting if that part of the industry is made available.
Not a Statewide Industry
If lawmakers finally approve sports betting in Louisiana, it will create a unique sports betting market. Sports betting will not be legal throughout the entire state as a handful of parishes did not vote to allow the industry.
Louisiana has some interesting laws in place, and referendums are voted on in each parish instead of a statewide tally. The biggest parishes in Louisiana did approve the measure, but this state could be the first to offer sports betting, but with some location restrictions.
Eventually, the parishes that voted against sports betting could try again, but that won’t happen when sports betting launches the first time. Residents of those parishes will still be permitted to bet on sports, but some traveling will be required to do so.