Governor John Bel Edwards has signed the first of two sports betting bills that will pave the way for legal sports betting in Louisiana. HB 697 has addressed many of the most important aspects of sports gambling in the state and places the Louisiana Lottery Corporation in control of the local market.
The lottery will issue operator permits, collect taxes, and oversee the sports betting market. The legislation also places a 10% tax rate on net proceeds from retail sportsbooks while online sportsbooks will pay 15%.
The second sports betting bill currently before the House and Senate is SB 247. This bill is the legislation that will enact sports betting in Louisiana following a ballot measure that saw 64% of the state’s electorate vote in favor of sports betting. The bill passed through the House by a vote of 78-15 but will need some amendments before it gains Senate approval. Once approved, the bill will then head to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.
According to the language of the legislation, sports fans will be able to place bets on sporting events on their smartphones or at retail sportsbooks in casinos. Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol will also be allowed to install gambling kiosks on their premises.
There is also a third bill, SB 142, that further refines the collection of taxes from sports betting revenues and how they are used by the state. This bill currently waits for approval from the House, but if it fails to pass, it’s not expected to affect a market launch.
Supporters of the first two bills are hopeful that the industry can launch in time for the upcoming NFL season which begins on September 10th. With this in mind, SB 247’s bill sponsors have included provisions for the issuance of temporary online wagering licenses that will allow operators to launch mobile sport betting products before any retail sportsbooks are built.
Image credit: Stuart Seeger / CC BY 2.0