Louisiana’s Plan to Legalize iGaming by Parish Makes Licensing Complicated
Louisiana has a bill in the works to legalize online gambling, but it faces a tedious path to approval that involves voter referendums in each of the state’s 64 parishes (called counties in other states). The bill would allow each parish to legalize igaming independently, which could make the licensing process complicated.
Louisiana’s current plan for legalizing online gambling could result in a patchwork of legal and illegal parishes. Aside from a geo-location headache involved in pinpointing which players are in the right location to play and which are not though they may live one street over; the state’s plan brings up a number of issues.
The biggest concern is licensing. Would operators be required to apply for and purchase a license in each of the 50-plus parishes that decide to legalize the industry? Would the state control licensing and dole out a percentage of the fee to participating parishes? Either way, the plan is more complicated than statewide legalization.
The other major issue Louisiana needs to clarify is taxation. Parishes may want to know how much they stand to gain from legalizing online gambling before they vote. Would all the money go equally to the state, or would it only benefit participating parishes? Furthermore, will each parish be allowed to set their own tax rate?
An additional factor to consider as the state shapes this legislation is whether or not the parishes will be able to join the interstate online player pool agreement. New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada began sharing poker player pools at the start of this month, and Pennsylvania is expected to join soon.