The majority of residents in Louisiana parishes voted to legalize sports betting in their respective regions in 2020. While the industry is authorized there is still a lot to do in the state. Legislation is still needed to regulate the sports betting market and a bill that would do just that, has been approved by the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate. It shouldn’t be done with much difficulty as Senate President Page Cortez has previously stated that he is in support of mobile sports betting on live sports events. House Bill 697 was introduced by Representative John Stefanski and outlines mobile sports betting for the state of Louisiana. The bill passed in the House with an overwhelming vote of 78-24 in support of sports betting.
Stefanski was happy with the result and was glad that the people had spoken. Furthermore, Cortez said that mobile sports betting would generate meaningful revenue for the state. The Senate President has also estimated that the sports betting industry has the potential to generate between 10 and 20 million USD annually in state taxes. Furthermore, HB 697 will also authorize retail sports betting and has set the tax rate on the revenue at 10%. However, when it comes to mobile sports betting, the tax rate will be set at 18%.
When it comes to retail sports betting, bettors won’t only find sportsbook offerings at a local casino or racino. Places such as bars that already house video poker terminals will be allowed to set up betting kiosks for their patrons as well. Louisiana has a total of 13 riverboat casinos, a land-based casino located in New Orleans and four racing tracks that offer casino games, racinos. Additionally, betting kiosks will play a big role in retail sports betting given that many bars, as well as truck stops, are already equipped with video poker terminals. According to reports, the addition of sports betting terminals was made due to concerns raised by the owners of these establishments that sports betting in the state would cut into their revenue generated by video poker.
The legal sports betting jurisdictions that surround Louisiana are still lacking when it comes to mobile sports betting. So, having mobile access in the state is sure to be an attractive option for bettors in and outside the state. Bordering Louisiana to the east, Mississippi does allow for mobile sports betting in its legislation, but the 26 commercial casinos in the state do not offer it as an option.
Additionally, to the north of Louisiana, there is Arkansas that only offers retail sports betting. It also has limited options for bettors in the state as they are only able to place their wagers by using betting kiosks or through a ticket window at one of the state’s three casinos. Looking to the west of Louisiana, there is Texas with no legal sports betting market as yet.
Currently, there are two more riverboat casinos in Louisiana but are closed. The one located in Lake Charles was severely damaged by storms that occurred in 2020 and has been temporarily closed. The other, a riverboat casino in Shreveport-Bossier has been closed permanently. Further expansion of the gaming industry has now deemed it legal for riverboat casinos to operate on land at the shore.
The vote to legalize sports betting in November 2020, showed that parishes with larger cities such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge were among the biggest supporters of sports betting. At the time, there was no specific stipulation that spoke about legalizing mobile sports betting. Fast forward to today and looking at the timeline, it doesn’t seem like the bill will make it through the Senate before the legislative session in Louisiana ends in early June.
Given the amount of time to get it done, state officials have stated that there are still other issues that need to be resolved before the legislation is ready to be put into action. Among these issues are regulatory issues as well as taxation details to consider. For now, it looks like there won’t be any sportsbooks operating in the state until 2022. Legalizing sports betting in Louisiana can make a big difference for the state and bettors in the state. Louisiana is considered as one of the largest sports fan bases in the U.S. Two professional sports teams also hail from Louisiana, the NBA’s Pelicans and the NFL’s Saints. To top it off, fans of collegiate sports can also be found in Louisiana and there are so many of them.