Sports betting is one step closer to reality in Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards just recently signed HB 697, one of two sports betting bills up for consideration in the state. SB 247 just moved through the House with a vote of 78-15, with amendments made. The Senate must review the bill again and approve the changes before the bill will reach the governor’s desk.
The measures legalize sports betting in the state, with bill sponsors hoping the new industry will be up and running by the end of the upcoming football season. The goal is to get online betting operational while the retail sportsbooks are under construction.
With the Senate measure, Representative John Stefanski added last-minute amendments that had been discussed with sponsors in the Senate. Both the House and Senate measures help to set up the industry, including taxes and fees.
If the two are approved, sports fans will be allowed to place bets on sporting events in several formats. Casinos in the state can add retail outlets with mobile betting also allowed. Bars and restaurants that offer alcohol sales can also add sports betting kiosks.
If the governor signs the two measures, the next move is for the Gaming Control Board to create the rules for the industry. Applications would also need to be filled out by operators who wish to offer retail and/or online services.
There are currently 20 casinos in the state. Each of these venues can apply for a base license. This process should not be too difficult as most of them are already well-known in the state and should be vetted quickly by the Board.
Each Louisiana casino can license two providers to offer mobile sports betting. The board can provide temporary licensing to such providers which will hopefully get the ball rolling on services as quickly as possible.
The application fee for casinos is $250,000 with a license fee of $500,000. Online bets will be taxed at 15% while retail gaming will have a lower 10% tax. It has been estimated that the new industry will bring as much as $20 million a year in revenues.
In the Senate measure, it details where the funds will be allocated within the state. In the measure, it says 25% will go to the state’s Early Childhood Education Fund. A smaller 12% will be distributed to each parish offering gaming.
A smaller 2% will be placed in a Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund while 1% will go to the Sports Wagering Purse Supplemental Fund. The remainder of the money generated will go to the state’s General Fund.