Sports betting in Louisiana has moved one step closer to legalizing sports betting in the state. Sports betting will make its way into the state by way of Senate Bill 247 and would be authorized in the parishes that voted for its legalization in the November 2020 election. The mobile sports betting bill was easily approved in the Senate and could set up the legal sports betting for a launch before the next Football season starts in the fall.
If the sports betting legislation from SB 247 becomes law then it would allow bettors in the state and approved parishes to use their smartphones to place wagers. These wagers could be placed on live sports events such as basketball, baseball and soccer. When the bill was introduced to the Senate, the vote for approval was cast and the results came in at 31-6 in support of the sports betting bill. The mobile sports betting bill is now on its way to the House of Representatives to be considered. Additionally, the bill will also allow for sports betting to take place inside casinos as well as bars with sports betting kiosks and restaurants.
Furthermore, if the bill is approved in the House then it will go to the desk of Governor John Bel Edwards for the final seal of approval. If that is done timeously then the legislation would be in effect as soon as July 2021. That marks one month before the National Football League preseason starts at the beginning of August. The preseason will be followed by the regular season games starting a month later in September. That makes the timing of legalized sports betting in Louisiana so important and gets a running start with one of the biggest betting seasons in the year. Louisiana is considered to be a state that is teeming with sports enthusiasts and adding legal sports betting is sure to drive excitement in the state.
When Louisiana voters in the November election approved sports betting in 55 of the 64 parishes in the state, the ballot measure did not mention any specific details about legalizing mobile sports betting. However, SB 247 from Senate President Page Cortez, resolves any doubts on the issue. The bill states that mobile sportsbook apps will need to be equipped with geofencing technology to ensure that the bets are being received from parishes that approved sports betting. Additionally, when the bet is received, the sportsbook apps need to display personal information to limit underage gambling.
There are 13 riverboat casinos in Louisiana and New Orleans has one land-based casino and there are also four racinos in the state. While there are an additional two riverboats that currently still hold gaming licenses, one was severely damaged by a hurricane in 2020 and has been temporarily shut down and the other has closed its doors permanently. The measure put forward by the Senate goes hand in hand with House Bill 697. The bill deals with the fees and taxes and has gained approval in the House and will be introduced in the Senate for consideration soon. The bill that carries the most weight when it comes to mobile sports betting is SB 247 and states that bets placed at bars at restaurants would be taxed at 10%. Smartphone bets using sportsbook apps would be taxed at 15%. The amount that will be taxed will be calculated from the net gaming revenue that sportsbooks report.
Legalizing mobile sports betting could be a major game-changer in and around the state of Louisiana. None of the surrounding states currently offer mobile sports betting. In Arkansas, bettors are only allowed to place wagers on live sports events in-person at sportsbooks in the state’s three land-based casinos. The same goes for Mississippi, however, the sports betting market is extremely competitive as the state has 26 licensed land-based casinos and 12 of these establishments are located on the Gulf Coast.
The abovementioned states do allow a form of mobile sports betting that is not as extensive as what Louisiana has planned. Mississippi and Arkansas bettors are only allowed to place bets via a sportsbook app if they are located on the licensed casino’s property. However, thus far the facility has not been made available in either of the states just yet. The other bordering state, Texas, does not have any licensed commercial casino and does not allow for legal sports betting at this time and efforts to make it a reality has been met with fierce opposition.