Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday signed the final two pieces of sports betting legislation into law, paving the way for the state’s first bets to be placed, with any luck, before the end of the year.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board is already working on proposed rules for both legal sports betting and daily fantasy. Voters in the state legalized mobile sports betting nearly statewide in November 2020 after authorizing daily fantasy in November 2018.
According to a report on daily fantasy at the June 17 Louisiana Gaming Control Board meeting, it’s likely that sports betting and daily fantasy will launch at about the same time. The goal for sports betting’s debut has been sometime during football season.
Edwards this week signed SB 247, the bill that sets out the framework around sports wagering, and SB 142, which breaks down where state funds from sports betting will be directed. Twenty-five percent of all tax dollars, not to exceed $20 million per year, is earmarked for early childhood education programs; 10% to the Sports Wagering Allocation Fund; 2.5% to the Sports Wagering Purse Supplemental Fund; and 2% or $500,000 (whichever is greater) to the Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund for problem gambling programs. The balance of tax revenue is earmarked for the state’s General Fund and for local governments.
On June 4, Edwards signed HB 697, which set the tax rates at 10% for on-site wagering and 15% for mobile wagering. All of the bills go into effect on July 1.
Up to 41 digital platforms
Under the new statute, 20 licenses will be available to the state’s riverboat casinos, horse racetracks, and single land-based casino in New Orleans. Every licensee will be entitled to open a retail sportsbook and have up to two digital platforms. The Louisiana Lottery will also be allowed to have a digital platform, meaning there could be up to 41 apps/internet sites in the state. Mobile/internet sports betting will be available in the 55 parishes where voters approved it, out of 64.
Bra I can't wait for sports betting to be officially legalized in Louisiana in a few months I'm so tired of dealing with these bookies I swear to God
— jev. (@7Parlays) June 20, 2021
In addition to the potential for 41 digital platforms, Louisianans will be able to wager via kiosks at locations with Class A on-site liquor licenses. These kiosks will be managed by the Louisiana Lottery and taxed at 10% of gross gaming revenue.
Bettors will be able to wager on professional, college, and Olympic sports with no carve-out for local college teams. The 20 existing gaming venues named in the statute must pay a $250,000 application fee for a sports betting license and then a $500,000 renewal fee, good for five years.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board shared an overview of the new laws with legislators during its June 17 meeting. The board next meets on July 15, and it’s possible that draft rules could be available at that time.
Louisiana will become the first state in its region to offer statewide mobile sports betting. Neighboring Mississippi has offered in-person wagering since 2018 and Arkansas has allowed bettors to wager at four locations since 2019. The closest state with a mobile option is Tennessee.