Sports betting in the bayou state is making like its famous riverboats and gaining steam. On Monday, April 12th the first day of the new Louisiana legislative session began with much of the discussions that day being centered around sports betting.

Representatives introduced bills and debated the process of legalization. While lawmakers are not sure what sports betting will look like in the state of Louisiana, and who is allowed to participate. A lock bet is that the new legislation will allow for residents of the state to make wagers on football, basketball, and other sports in some form.

A goal for supporters of the legislation is having it introduced and ratified prior to June 10th when lawmakers leave Baton Rouge. Sen Ronnie Johns, a Republican, is the go-to legislator on gambling issues, when asked about passing the legislation prior to the deadline Johns said:

It has to be, if not it will be two more years before [sports betting] can be introduced because tax measures can only be considered in odd-numbered years

If the legislation is not passed then it could be another three years before Louisiana could reintroduce the bills.

Having to wait that additional years will set Louisana back behind competition states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia all of which have already met to introduce and pass bills to quickly open up the new industry. Half of the nation’s 50 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting since 2018.

Here are some of the bills circulating the Louisiana Legislation.

SB 202 Proposal for Sports Betting in Louisiana

A bipartisan trio of senators is sponsoring SB 202. This bill would introduce sports betting as a subsidiary of the Louisiana Lottery for online and wagering machines. The bill requires in-person registration prior to online betting. A limit would be set restricting the available licenses to 20 businesses beyond the lottery.

Preference would go to:

  • 15 licensed riverboats
  • Four live horse racing tracks
  • One land-based casino

If these numbers are not met the leftover licenses would go to video poker establishments and fantasy sports operators. Another provision would require that at least 10% of all wagers are to be held by an operator at a Louisiana-chartered bank. 

louisiana sports betting legalize

HB 628 Proposal for Louisiana Sports Betting

This second bill goes further than SB 202 creating a specific tax code. The industry will still be regulated by the state and adds gaming supplies to the state’s current gaming permit language.

A number of fees will accompany taxes for business applying for the new sports betting licenses:

  • Sports wagering license will come with a $1 million initial application fee and a five-year license fee for $500,000
  • Platform permit of $100,000 with a five-year license fee of $500,000
  • Service Provider permits: $50,000 initial application with a five-year fee of $25,000
  • Distributor permit: $5,000 application fee and a five-year fee of $2,500

The taxes in HB 628 are as follows:

  • 15% tax on bets at licensed wagering establishment
  • 30% tax on bets through mobile apps
  • 40% tax on bets through the Louisiana Lottery

Louisiana Sports Betting Landscape

The bayou is home to more than 4.6 million residents. This is approximately 800,000 fewer residents than Colorado, which recorded $266.5 million in February handle.

The lobbyist group Louisiana Wins estimated that between $237 million and $332 million in will be made annual operator revenue this is including the mobile market. Caesars, Boyd Gaming, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Penn National will all be competing to secure state licenses.

Louisiana is home to two professional sports teams, The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Undoubtedly the largest supported team is the LSU Tigers who are fresh off a 2020 National Championship in football.

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