ouisiana lawmakers on Tuesday advanced an online and retail sports betting regulation bill. A Senate judiciary committee passed the bill that would allow online betting in most Louisiana parishes, reports Action Network.
A vote before the full Senate floor is set to happen later this month.
The vote on Tuesday comes a day after the House of Representatives passed a companion taxation bill 77-24, sponsored by Republican Rep. John Stefanski, which awaits debate in the Senate. It calls for a 10% tax on the net proceeds of an operator for on-premise sports wagering and an 18% tax on net proceeds from mobile betting.
According to Louisiana law, tax bills must originate in the House and all bills must pass through both chambers with two-thirds supermajorities. Furthermore, lawmakers in both chambers must also approve identical versions of the regulatory bill before legal wagering can begin, which is expected to come no sooner than 2022.
It took lawmakers two years to pass similar daily fantasy legislation; DFS providers such as FanDuel and DraftKings, aren’t expected to launch until later this year even though Louisiana voters first approved these games in 2018.
The bill would allow the state’s riverboat casinos, horse tracks, and loan land-based casino in New Orleans to open retail sportsbooks. Bettors age 21 and up physically located in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes will be able to digitally register, deposit, and wager within those municipalities from their smartphones or other mobile devices.
Page Cortez, the Republican Senate President, sponsors the regulatory bill. He said Tuesday the latest version comes with extensive collaboration between lawmakers and would-be Louisiana sports betting stakeholders.
Each of the state’s 20 retail gaming facilities could partner with two separate sportsbook brands, or “skins.” The state lottery could also launch a digital sportsbook, bringing 41 potential online sportsbooks to Louisiana, one of the highest caps in the country.
Cortez’s bill would have allowed thousands of convenience stores to take bets, however, that was removed from the partner taxation legislation in the House.
Cortez, taxation bill sponsor Rep. Todd Stefanski and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder are all working on the sports betting legislation, and lawmakers in Tuesday’s Senate committee approved an updated regulatory bill, without the convenience store sports betting options.
Both the taxation and regulatory bill would still permit restaurant betting kiosks.
Louisiana is among a handful of states with legal video lottery terminals, which are in thousands of bars and restaurants throughout much of the state. The video lottery lobby helped delay daily fantasy legalization efforts in 2019 and remains a powerful political force in the state capitol.
Gambling in any form is still a cause of controversy for many lawmakers regardless of the support from voters on the matter across most parishes. That and the competing interests groups and previous DFS implementation struggles are all factors that could impact 2021 sports betting implementation efforts.