Governor John Bel Edwards signed two bills into law that move sports betting in Louisiana one step closer. However, before launching the activity, the regulator will need to initiate the licensing process. If all goes as planned, sports fans may be able to enjoy legal sports wagering just in time for the start of the NFL season in September.
Louisiana’s Lengthy Process of Sports Betting Legalization
Although the legalization of sports wagering in Louisiana has taken a couple of years, there is hope for sports fans to enjoy the activity this autumn. Last year, residents of the 64 parishes in the state voted for or against the activity. According to the results, 55 parishes voted in favor of legalizing sports wagering.
Earlier this month, Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 697 (HB 697) into law. The bill established the taxation of the activity and allowed the Louisiana Lottery Corporation to be in charge of taxing and regulation of permits. Under the bill, retail sportsbooks operating in the state are subject to 10% tax on net proceeds. On the other hand, online and mobile sportsbooks pay 15% tax on net proceeds.
The State Takes a Major Step Forward
Now, Louisiana took a major step forward, considering that Governor Edwards signed Senate Bill 247 and Senate Bill 142 into law on Tuesday this week. The bills determine how the tax proceeds from sports wagering will be spent and establish how the activity is going to be regulated. Keeping in mind that the Governor already signed HB 697, operators may soon start applying for licenses to operate in Louisiana.
Under the regulation bill, a total of 41 sports betting skins are going to be available for applicants. Each of the state’s 20 horse race tracks and casinos may agree with two operators that may offer both online and mobile sports wagering. While the bill goes into effect on July 1, if everything goes according to plan, sports fans may be able to legally wager in Louisiana just in time for the NFL kick-off in September.
Once sports wagering is launched in Louisiana, lawmakers are hoping to raise some $20 million in tax proceeds annually. SB 142 features a $250,000 application fee for each of the applicants, then a license fee of $500,000 is required to secure a five-year license. Upon launching the activity, bets are only going to be taken at betting venues, restaurants and bars, as well as through mobile devices, located within those parishes that voted in favor of sports wagering.