Sports betting took a big step forward in Louisiana as lawmakers in the Senate have approved SB 153. The bill is limited and restricts wagering to racetracks and casinos of the state. The measure was introduced by Senator Danny Martiny and would not legalize sports betting in the state but create a question regarding the activity for voter approval. The bill passed in the Senate with a vote of 24-15.
The bill will now move on to the House and there is still time for the measure to continue to move forward. The current session in the state does not end until the 6th of June. The sports betting measure would be asked as a ballot question, requiring each parish to decide if they wish to offer the option or not. The same process was completed last year regarding daily fantasy sports in the state.
Sports betting in the state would be limited to land-based wagering online. The legislation does not include mobile gaming. An amendment was passed earlier this week that would allow for wagers via mobile devices but only when located at a track or casino venue that offers sports betting.
The horse racing tracks and casinos will be able to apply for licensing. An application will have to be filled out within the state’s Gaming Control Board. The rate for licensing fees as well as taxes has yet to be determined. However, before the industry can be implemented, these numbers will have to be provided.
Currently, the state is home to a total of 16 casinos and four racing facilities. Several companies are in operation in the state including Golden Nugget, Caesars and Penn National. It is expected that such companies would vie for sports betting licensing if the option is made available.
Paving the Way
It seems that the voting process for daily fantasy sports betting last year has paved the way for sports betting to be considered this year. Last year, out of 64 parishes in the state, 47 decided to approve daily fantasy sports gaming. This was a clear sign that there was a want for sports style wagering and seems to have made lawmakers more open to the idea of sports betting in the state.
If the legislation is considered during a ballot question this November, operations could begin as early as next year. Over the next few weeks, we should see if the measure is able to continue to progress. Hopefully, Louisiana will be the next state on the path to legalized sports betting in the United States.
The state would join other newbies that have legalized the option including Tennessee. Legislation to legalize sports betting in Tennessee just passed in the House and Senate, making its way to the governor’s desk for approval. Governor Bill Lee has decided to not veto or sign the bill. This will allow the option to become legalized due to inaction.