Louisiana Senate passes sports betting bill

1 May 2019

The Louisiana Senate has advanced a bill to legalise sports betting in the state, which now passes to the state House of Representatives for further scrutiny.

SB153, which was prefiled by Senator Daniel Martiny in March, passed with 24 Senators voting in favour, and 15 against.

The bill, also known as the Sports Wagering Control Law, would legalise in-person wagering at licensed casinos, riverboat casinos and racetracks throughout the state. While off-premises mobile wagering is not permitted, players would be permitted to place bets via mobile while on casino or racetrack grounds.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will be handed responsibility for overseeing the state’s sports betting market, including collecting all licence fees and taxes, both of which are yet to be finalised. However SB153 does state that 1% of sports wagering proceeds or $500,000 (£382,480/€444,910) - whichever is greater - will be allocated to the state’s Compulsive and Problem Gaming Fund each year.

SB153’s companion bill in the Louisiana House, HB587, does set out licensing and tax fees for the markets. Sports wagering service providers will pay a $50,000 annual fee, $100,000 for a five-year sports wagering certificate, and a 12% tax on net revenue. The bill has sat with the House Committee on Ways and Means since April 16.

For sports betting to pass into law in Louisiana, SB153 will have to be passed by the House and signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards, then put to the public at a proposition election. This would see each of the state’s parishes vote on whether to permit sports betting.

Facilities based in parishes in which a majority of the population votes in favour of allowing sports betting would then be able to apply for licences. Provided the bill passes by the end the Louisiana legislative session on June 6, voting could take place alongside the state legislative elections, scheduled for October 12.

Image: Famartin