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Louisiana Sports Betting Takes Next Step

The sports betting legislative process can be tedious, but Louisiana has taken a step forward.

Sports betting and the southern states are becoming more intertwined as of late. The sports betting legislative process can be tedious, but Louisiana has taken a step forward.

HB697 Moves Forward

John Stefanski introduced HB 697 along with 13 co-authors. The bill gives the Louisiana Lottery the power to operate sports betting and create the tax on the form of gambling. The bill was delayed for five days in the House, but it has passed.

It was read for the third time on Monday, and there were many questions if HB 697 would continue in the legislative process. The vote needed a 2/3 majority, but it almost received 75% of the House.

However, after many amendments, the bill passed with ease in the House by a margin of 77-24. HB 697 will now move to the Louisiana Senate, but the date of discussion will be assigned later after the bill is designated to a chamber committee.

Amendments to HB697

If HB697 had not been amended, it most likely would have fallen short of the necessary 2/3 majority in the House. The amendments that were made primarily involved the tax rates. A 10% tax was designated on local retail betting establishments with a sports wagering kiosk.

All mobile sports betting platforms would be taxed at 15% under HB697. Convenience stores are no longer eligible for a retail betting license as previously expected. Businesses that serve alcohol can apply for Class A retail licenses, meaning that they can implement a wagering kiosk.

The online licenses will be given to the 15 casinos and five racinos in LA. Each property will be granted two online skins. These regulations sound great for people in the state, but the road to legal wagering is just beginning.

In November 2020, 55 of the state’s 64 parishes (districts) voted to legalize sports betting. Residents’ opinions are known, but the legislature still needs to deliver. The legislative chambers must pass two separate sports betting bills for the practice to go into effect.

The first details the language for regulation and licensing. The second bill would just deal with the tax rates. The positive news for bettors is that the Senate appears to be on board with sports betting like the House.

Proposals in the Senate

Senate President Patrick Page Cortez has estimated that sports wagering could provide the state with $10 to $20 million in annual tax revenue. If the state did not legalize online betting, it would be significantly lower.

Most legislators in the Senate are determined to bring online betting to LA because of the financial benefit. Two bills in the Senate deal with online wagering. The first is SB 202, which is sponsored by Cortez.

The second bill is SB 195, and it was introduced by Cameron Henry. The bills are slightly different, but they both provide LA with the framework to create a substantial betting economy. Both pieces of legislation would allow for up to 20 mobile betting platforms.

No matter what bill passes, the Senate will have to work quickly. The 2021 legislative session ends on June 10.


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