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Critical Week Ahead for Louisiana Legal Sports Betting Industry

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Critical Week Ahead for Louisiana Legal Sports Betting Industry
Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 01, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sean Gardner/Getty Images/AFP

Proponents of a legal sports betting platform in the state of Louisiana face a critical week ahead. With a large portion of the heavy lifting toward a legal platform already done, next week expects to see the signing of three necessary sports betting Bills into law, just ahead of a June 10 deadline for the state.

Governor John Bel Edwards expected to give final approval to House Bill 697, Senate Bill 142 and Senate Bill 247 before the current session of the Louisiana legislature ends this Thursday. He has one of the three already, with two of the Bills still having to receive final readings in the Senate. Those are expected to happen Sunday and Monday.

A Brief History in Time

The potential Louisiana legal sports betting scene has been complicated, to say the least. The state is made up of 64 parishes, each being allowed to have their say on whether to allow legal sports betting into their jurisdiction.

A dry run for bigger legislation came two years ago when DFS was approved by the majority of parishes but still hasn’t launched in the state. Bureaucratic red-tape and organizational roadblocks have certainly slowed the process down. Legislators in Louisiana hope to avoid a repeat of those issues with their broader legal sports betting initiatives.

55 of 64 parishes in Louisiana approved a legal sports betting platform for their jurisdictions on the November 2020 election ballot and momentum has been swift since then, to the delight of proponents of the platform in the state. There are still some organizational barriers to clear before a smooth launch can be executed.

Three Bills Needed

There are a total of three legislative Bills needed by Governor Edwards before he can sign legal sports betting into law. Bill 697, that deals mostly with the taxation aspects of a legal sports betting platform is already on the Governor’s desk ready to be signed after passing a House vote May 10 by a 78-24 margin and by the Senate by a 32-4 vote May 26.

Bill 142 was designed to stipulate just where revenues from the platform are to be directed. It hasn’t hit the Governor’s desk just yet but is expected to easily fly through the legislative process after a 33-3 YEA vote in the Senate Wednesday. It is currently in the hands of the House Appropriations Committee which is expected to sign off on Monday.

Senate Bill 247, the first of the Bills to be drafted is yet another current holdout, waiting for legislative readings and passing before being sent to the Governor’s desk. It already passed in the House on Thursday by a 78-15 vote and on May 19, passed by a 31-6 margin in the Senate. Bill 247’s final reading is expected to be just a formality on Sunday before it is passed on to the Governor.

What It All Means

Louisiana is on the cusp of a wide-ranging legal sports betting platform. It will include 20 brick-and-mortar licenses already earmarked for the state’s one land-based casino, 15 riverboats casinos and four race tracks.

There will be an additional 40 mobile provider licences tethered to the 20 retail ones – each retail provider will be given the chance at two mobile licenses, or skins. Sign-up for betting apps will be exclusively mobile – there will be no in-person requirement for mobile betting sites.

There will be a 10% tax on GGR for retail sportsbooks and a 15% tax on mobile apps. Prospective licensees will pay an initial licensing fee of $250,000 with a $500,000 renewal fee every five years. It is estimated that Bill 607 alone will generate $20 million in annual revenue.

Upon Launch…

The Louisiana legal sports betting scene is expected to quickly elevate into the elite class of bet-friendly states. And final confirmation is expected this week, by June 10 which is the end of the current Louisiana legislative session.

The aim is for that the Louisiana legal sports betting scene be fully operational by the start of the NFL season and for the state to start taking advantage of the estimated $20 million in yearly revenue right away.

As the only mobile betting platform in the region, and with no shortage of venues for which to place a legal bet, Louisianans and residents of surrounding states are expected to flock to the state’s retail and mobile betting outlets. While nine of the 64 parishes are still holding out on bringing legal sports betting to their jurisdictions, wagering action is expected to be strong, and it is expected to be immediate in the state of Louisiana.