The topic of sports betting has been heating up in the state of Louisiana, but it looks like it is coming to a resolution. Lawmakers are hoping to get sports betting approved in the state, but the final decision will ultimately be left up to the citizens of the state.
Louisiana was in a bit of a financial crisis before the coronavirus pandemic descended upon the United States, but the shutdown of major businesses has cost the state even more money. Lawmakers agreed that legalizing sports betting, and taxing the revenue, was one of the best ways to bring some additional money to the state.
Senator Cameron Henry proposed a new sports betting bill earlier this month, and the state legislature has spent some time discussing the bill. The Louisiana Senate voted last week on the bill, and the result was a 29-8 decision to advance the bill forward.
The House of Representatives will now get their first look at the bill, and they can suggest any changes to the bill or can simply take a vote. Experts believe that the bill will pass through the House of Representatives as well, and it will then head to the final step.
In most states, that would then send the bill to the governor for his signature, but that isn’t the case in Louisiana. The decision will now be up to the voters in the state, and a referendum is expected to be placed on the ballot in November.
The state of Colorado had the same scenario last year, and voters in that state agreed to allow sports betting to be legalized throughout the state. The process will look similar in Louisiana, except the decision will not be a statewide decision.
There are 64 parishes (counties) throughout the state of Louisiana, and each parish will get to make their own decision in regards to the referendum. That could leave a majority of the state with or without sports betting, while the rest of the state has different laws.
The legalization of Daily Fantasy Sports was also left up to the parishes in the state a few years ago, and that was a split decision. A majority of the parishes voted to legalize daily fantasy sports, but the state legislature was unable to come up with laws to regulate the industry, and the bill died.
Even though parishes could legalize sports betting in November, there is no set timetable for the industry to launch. Lawmakers will have to get back to the drawing board in 2021 to create laws on how to regulate and tax sports betting. Laws will also have to be created to determine where sports betting can take place in the state.
The bill that was proposed by Henry would allow all current gaming operators to apply for a sports betting license. There are more than 50 of these locations in the state of Louisiana, including commercial and tribal casinos and racetracks.
Betting on collegiate athletic events is allowed in the bill that was proposed by Henry, which would allow bettors to bet on college football. One major drawback is that mobile betting would not be allowed. All of these rules and regulations can change next year, but a new bill would have to be proposed and approved.
Some conservative groups in the state of Louisiana have voiced their opposition to this bill, but the majority of the public response has been positive. Lawmakers are hoping that the financial burden brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will help residents decide to vote yes on the referendum.