Last week a pair of sports betting bills in Louisiana was moved out of committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote. The Senate met and discussed both of the bills on Thursday, before taking a vote on each of them.
The Senate decided to vote in favor of both of the sports betting bills, which will now send each bill to the House of Representatives for discussion and a vote. If both bills pass through the House, there is a chance that sports betting could become legal by the end of the year.
Senate Bill 130 was sponsored by Senator Cameron Henry, and it passed through the Senate by a vote of 23-9. Henry’s bill would allow for the topic of legalizing sports betting to appear on the ballot in November. Each parish would get to decide whether or not they wanted sports betting, and it would not be a statewide issue.
Senate Bill 378 was approved on Thursday afternoon, and it establishes rules and regulations that would be included if the industry was launched. Notably, the bill does not call for mobile betting to be included, except for mobile betting at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Under this proposal, mobile betting would be allowed inside of the casinos, but not while sitting at home. This same thing is done in the state of Mississippi, and it has proven to be a successful method.
Betting on all collegiate athletics and events would be legal under this proposal, as would betting on the Olympics. Esports would not be legal, although that could change if a lawmaker decides to create a new bill that passes.
Clearing A Hurdle
Getting the sports betting referendum on the ballot is a big hurdle for lawmakers in the state, but it is still unclear how that vote will go. There has been a precedent set by voters in the state of Louisiana, but that vote was on Daily Fantasy Sports.
Close to 20 parishes voted against the legalization of Daily Fantasy Sports. DFS is actually not legal anywhere in the state, even in those parishes that voted in support of the issue. The state was unable to create laws to regulate the industry, and it kept the industry from launching.
The House of Representatives will have to move quickly on each of these bills if the question is left up to the voters in November. Any referendum issue that will appear on the ballot must pass through both houses of the legislature by June 1.
If voters decide to legalize sports betting in November, the lawmakers will have to get back to work to create language and laws to regulate the industry. Any new bills would have to be approved by the governor before they can officially become laws.
Louisiana has a rather large casino and gambling industry, with 53 different casino locations currently up and running in the state. It is unclear how many of these locations would be able to offer sports betting, or what the tax rate will be.