The legalization of sports betting in Louisiana is close to crossing the finish line, following the approval of the sports betting bill dubbed SB130. House of Representatives okayed the bill in a 71-24 vote, and now, all that remains is for Louisiana residents to vote in favor of the bill in a parish by parish referendum later in November.
However, sports betting will only be allowed in the parishes that will vote in its favor. After the locals in the state vote it in, the state lawmakers and the Gaming Control Board will be tasked with establishing licensing, taxation, and regulatory guidelines within the year.
SB130 was introduced by Senator Cameron Henry and currently has the backing up of the Senate. As pointed out by former State Senator Danny Martiny, sports betting was something that is already taking place though on unregulated platforms. This is a problem for the state because it has not been receiving tax revenue for the activity as sports betting hasn’t been legalized yet.
Moreover, there’s also a need for more tax collection in the gaming markets, especially after the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on brick and mortar casino gambling. The state used to rake in up to over $1.5 billion in state tax revenue from the 25 commercial and tribal casinos in Louisiana, which have since closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The casinos have however started reopening but under stricter safety protocols to try and recover the lost revenue which is crucial to the state’s economy.