Louisiana Waiting 2020’s Spring Session to Restart Sports Betting Bill Legislation

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The legislature in Louisiana tried to pass a sports betting bill in May 2019, but the efforts to do that failed since the House eventually rejected the proposal.

This Year’s Efforts to Pass Sports Betting Bill Have Failed

On April 23 this year Louisiana State Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation to permit sports betting in the state. Senate Bill 153 was approved 3-1 as the only vote against it came from Sen. Karen Carter Peterson who had earlier admitted suffering from gambling addiction.

The bill was later sent to the Louisiana House for further consideration but was rejected in the end. Ronnie Jones, Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s chairman, said that in his opinion the proposal’s downvote was due to the stakeholders’ lack of adequate cooperation in agreeing on proper bill’s regulations.

There was a whole list of contradictory amendments added to Bill 153, such as bars and other poker venues to become part of the gambling industry along with the 20 casinos in the state.Eventually the  Louisiana Casino Association refused to support the amendments.

I’ve read the room,” Rep. Joseph A. Marino said about the mood of the House in an interview late Tuesday. “I don’t see any light left at the end of the tunnel. We’re out of time.” 

Hopes for the Bill’s Legislation Left for 2020

Yet hopes to legalize sports betting in Louisiana haven’t been completely dashed. The next spring session starting on March 9, 2020, promises to bring a new positive start marked by the re-election of the republican Gov. Edwards who supports gambling development in Louisiana.

So far the governor has been putting significant efforts into keeping gambling operators in the state and has been in favor of letting local casinos open their own sportsbooks.

Another good news is that the parties’ cooperation in getting the sports betting bills successfully to the floor will be far more fruitful next year. 

Still, there’s one important detail that needs to be considered- even if there is a positive outcome on the bills, the tax matters related to gambling will remain unsolved. According to the law bills that regulate taxes in the state are examined only once every two years which means that any changes in taxation and fees will not be officially discussed before 2021.

Besides, all the voters have to decide through a parish referendum whether or not they agree with the new sports betting regulations. This is a mandatory constitutional requirement to establish new forms of gamblings.

According to the legislators casinos are not as lucrative as other types of games such as slots. Yet, according to the optimistic forecast of Bill 153’s sponsor  Sen. Danny Martiny sports betting could bring an annual revenue between $30 million and $60 million to the state.

“The addition of sports betting to Louisiana’s gaming landscape would, as originally proposed, drive business to the 20 casino locations where we believe visitors would buy food and drink, spend the night in a room, visit the spa and retail offerings, and perhaps even play a table game or two,” comment on the profits’ expectations Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s chairman Jones

According to him the indirect profits coming from the licensed locations and communities where the casinos are, and not the direct ones,  are a serious source of revenue for the state.

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