Sports gambling approved by Louisiana House, now heads to the Senate
By Bob Garcia
Louisiana lawmakers figure out how to give sports gambling a chance
Sports betting got out of bed on the right foot earlier this week in the state of Louisiana. Its proposal, represented by House Bill 697 (HB 697), aims at providing the state Lottery with the necessary authorization to conduct sports betting, while at the same time applying a respective tax. The bill, which is sponsored by Representative John Stefanski, was delayed for almost a week but was finally read for the third time in the Louisiana House of Representatives. After an exhaustive review of amendments, the legislation finally received a 77-24 vote (two-thirds required), thus taking a firm step towards its new destination, the Senate.
Because everything went as planned, the bill was introduced yesterday and added to the Senate calendar, and it will be assigned to a committee with a date to be announced. With respect to the initial proposals presented in this legislation, several changes were made in order to provide a better law should it become a reality. Among those changes is the application of a 15% tax on mobile platforms, while local retail establishments with a sports betting kiosk will face a 10% tax rate. All those retail establishments that have a Class A retail license, where alcohol can be sold, will be eligible to apply for a sports betting kiosk. On the other hand, it has been made clear that convenience stores have been left out of the equation and have no way to make this same application.
It has also been said that the state will be in charge of distributing 20 licenses among 15 existing casinos and five racinos, with two skins per license. This legislation has seen significant support since November of last year, when 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to approve sports betting in Louisiana. Now, it is just a matter of the Senate taking a similar position.