Louisiana Loses Out on Sports Betting Legalization

Sports betting is currently being considered in several states across the US. While there are some states making great strides in legalizing the activity, others are falling behind. Louisiana is one such state that has fallen short of legalizing sports betting. After going back and forth for the past few days, lawmakers were unable to pass a sports betting bill on the last day of the current session.

H 459

Legislation H 459 was created to determine the allocation of revenues for daily fantasy sports. The option was legalized based on a referendum from 2018. However, lawmakers soon added sports betting to the measure which caused some issues. Now, the state is without sports betting as well as tax options for daily fantasy sports.

Another effort to pass sports betting took place previous to this one with a stand alone bill but it was unable to move forward as well. Lawmakers in both chambers were unable to come to an agreement as to how the activity should be offered in the state.

Sports betting was expected to become law in the state via a bill by Senator Danny Martiny. A model was proposed for the state that would allow sportsbooks at casinos and race tracks. The new industry would be able to start in 2020. A local referendum would be required for every parish in the state before any betting could begin. Residents would essentially decide if they would be involved in the industry.

S 153 was the effort and Martiny had support in the Senate just two months ago. However, last month, the House Appropriations committee decided to add amendments to the bill that would be its downfall. The bill soon included video poker as well as sports betting to use official league data in operations.

Martiny as well as other stakeholders tried to stop members of the committee from hurting the bill but they were not listened to. The amendments were added without objection and it was unable to move forward from that point.

Unfortunately for Martiny, his bill was eventually stripped and existed no more. Sports betting provisions were removed and the final report version was no longer what he had created. Martiny did speak to lawmakers and let them know his disappointment. However, it wouldn’t change anything and the session would end without any help to the new DFS industry and without sports betting legalization.

For now, lawmakers will not be back in session until next March. This is a long time and we are sure to see other states get on the action while Louisiana has to sit on the sidelines. Martiny will be out of office by next year so a supporter of the activity might be hard to find.

Other states, like Illinois and Indiana, were able to move legislation in the final hours. Both states approved the option on the final day of Legislature sessions. Another state, Colorado, will see sports betting voted on in November.

It is expected that other states will be considering the option as well as the year pushes on. Sports betting has become big business in the US as several states are already offering fully functioning sportsbooks with some going online.

New Jersey has been the most successful thus far, pulling in millions each month from online as well as land-based betting. It will be interesting to see by the end of the year, which states are offering services and how they are faring with the new industry.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.