Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are coming to the Bayou State after residents in most of the state’s 64 parishes voted in favor of a ballot initiative to allow residents of those parishes to play in online DFS contests.
According to the Times-Picayune, 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted in favor of legalizing online DFS contests, with most of those against it located in north Louisiana, while most areas in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette areas voted in favor. DFS will be available only to those within the parishes that voted in favor — not statewide.
Because the Louisiana state constitution prohibits gambling, the legislation sponsored by state representative Kirk Talbot’s (R-River Ridge), which triggered the ballot initiative, read: “participation in any fantasy sports contest … shall not be considered gambling.”
Louisianans In Most of State’s Parishes Say Yes to Legalizing DFS Contests; Regulations Still Needed Before Players Can Jump In
Whether or not DFS games constitute gambling (it does) is a matter for scholarly papers, public opinion, and recently for the New York State judicial system.
According to the Louisiana-based Advocate, Talbot said “the online games should be allowed because they are fun.” (That’s a pretty unimpeachable position.)
Residents of parishes that will now allow DFS participation won’t have access during the football season, however. Lawmakers and gaming regulators now have to craft rules governing licensing and taxation. Also geofencing technology, the same kind used to create digital barrier between states, will be necessary to prevent residents from parishes that did not legalize from entering contests.
The major DFS players, DraftKings and FanDuel, kicked in a combined $1 million to the political action committee “Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana,” which helped inform voters of the measure and move them to vote yes.
As for legal sports betting, some Louisiana lawmakers are now seeing what Gulf Coast neighbor Mississippi is producing on the betting handle and taxable revenue front. And they’re not happy that the neighbor to the east is siphoning entertainment dollars from their state — on a quest to become the Gulf Coast sports betting destination.
There was some consideration of legalizing sports betting during the 2018 legislative session. House Bill 245 by Rep. Major Thibaut, which stalled in committee, would “authorize additional games and sports betting at eligible live horse racing facilities.”
During an Senate panel in October, Martiny said he that he plans to revisit legalization in the next legislative session that begins in April 2019.
“I’m going to have a bill,” he said, per the Advocate. “If we pass [it], we’re going to be able to keep up with Mississippi.”
State Senator Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles) told local media regarding the failure to pass legislation: “It’s a shame that we can’t derive some revenue off [the] Alabama vs. LSU game.”
Finally, back to DFS: Louisiana now becomes the 42nd state where DFS contests are legal (in the parishes that approved, of course), opening up a pretty modest amount of taxable revenue but certainly more fun and fairness for Louisianans.