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Louisiana to Approve Sports Betting Bill in 2021

It appears that legal sports betting is coming to the state of Louisiana at some point in 2021, as there are just a few final steps that need to take place. Lawmakers have been focused on Senate Bill 247 since early in 2021, and that piece of legislation should end up at the Governor’s desk by the end of next week.

On Thursday night, the House of Representatives in Louisiana passed SB 247 by an overwhelming approval vote of 78-15. That bill now heads back to the Senate for final approval, and Senators won’t have a lot of time to make a decision.

The session adjourns on June 10, but the Senate is expected to discuss the bill on Sunday night. Without any major changes coming from the House, the Senate could quickly vote to approve the measure.

John Bel Edwards (Democrat) is the current Governor of the state of Louisiana, and he has been a proponent of sports betting in the past. He is expected to sign the bill without much hesitation if it were to land on his desk.

Louisiana could have a large sports betting market in place if the final steps are taken as there will be up to 20 licenses available. The 15 casinos and 5 racinos in the state will be eligible for a license, and those licenses will come with two skins as well.

Retail sports betting will be taxed at a rate of 10%, and retail betting will be done through kiosks that are established at the locations. Online sports betting will be taxed at 15%, and online operators will be able to offer this form of gambling.

The tax rate was established by HB 697, and that piece of legislation has already passed both chambers in the state legislature. HB 697 is currently awaiting signature from the Governor and will likely be signed at the same time as SB 247.

The Louisiana Lottery will be in charge of overseeing and regulating the sports betting industry, and that was established in SB 142. This bill has not yet been officially passed, but it is expected to be voted on next week.

Sports Betting Not Available State-Wide

When sports betting does officially launch in the state of Louisiana, bettors won’t be able to place wagers from anywhere in the state. Louisiana will be the first state to launch sports betting in only select parishes.

There are 64 parishes in Louisiana, and sports betting was only approved in 55 of them during the vote that was held in November 2020. Louisiana saw similar results when it attempted to legalize Daily Fantasy Sports a few years ago.

Lawmakers in the state were able to learn from lessons that came about during the attempted legalization of the DFS industry. After that industry was approved in 2018, it took lawmakers until 2020 before official rules and regulations were established.

Sports betting and DFS games could ultimately launch around the same time as Louisiana has not yet approved any DFS operators to begin accepting customers.

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