Local sports betting signed into law

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed legislation this month that creates all necessary protocols, regulations and monetary structures related to sports wagering in Louisiana. The legislation will go into effect July 1, and hopes are high that everything will be ready to go by football season this fall.

Senate Bill 247 and Senate Bill 142 lay out the legal path for Louisiana casinos to apply for the necessary licenses, create the spaces for in-person betting and organize the operation of wagering done via smart phones and online.

Edwards signed House Bill 697 earlier in the month. The bill establishes the monetary structure of the taxes and fees for the new gambling avenue in the state.

St. Charles Parish voters overwhelmingly supported a proposition on the Nov. 3 ballot that allowed for legal sports wagering on collegiate and professional sports.

The proposition, in which 72.4% of registered parish voters participated in, had a 70% approval rate. Voters in 54 other parishes also approved the measure.

In May 2019, when the bill was gaining momentum in the Senate, Sen. Gary Smith Jr. of Norco called the gambling industry “our business partners” and said it was time for Louisiana to be on even footing with other states that have gambling and gaming, most of which allow sports betting – like Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi.

“With 55 of our 64 parishes voting in favor of sports betting, I think the Governor is following through with the wishes of the vast majority and keeping Louisiana on a level playing field with Mississippi,” Smith said this week. “We worked with his office as the bill moved through the system to see if there would be any obvious things he was opposed to in the legislation.  Some of the major things we attempted to accomplish were to ensure that local players had a realistic option and to make sure local businesses could have a meaningful way to participate.”

Smith said the local legalization of sports betting is a way to keep people who are interested in participating in betting on sports in the parish instead of having to either go somewhere else or use an illegal source.

“Sports betting is currently a multi-billion dollar industry, and our hope is that legalization of this type of gaming is a way to put a dent in that illegal industry and in turn regulate the industry while capturing some of the revenues,” he said, adding that legalization of sports betting will also provide a safe and accountable way for our citizens to participate in this activity. “There is also the possibility for new or increased local businesses which could further increase revenues to the parish.”

Spectrum Gaming Group reported that Louisiana could expect between $237 million and $332 million in annual operator revenue from sports betting.

Regardless of actual revenue, legislation stipulates that the money collected will be placed in a fund that secures the bonds the state uses to fund construction. From there, 12% will be distributed to the parishes that approved sports betting; 2% or up to $500,000 of the profits would go to the Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund; 25%, up to $20 million, would go to Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund and 2.5% would go to pad horse racing purses.

The rest of the money will go to the state’s general fund and be distributed as legislators wish.

All in-person wagers will be taxed at 10%, and taxes increase to 15% on cellphone or website bets. The taxes will be collected on net proceeds.


About Monique Roth 919 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

1 Comment

  1. “2.5% would go to pad horse racing purses.” — so they are going to take a portion of my football winnings, and give it to a sport I don’t even follow, to help prop up the mafia’s earnings on horse racing. Who approved this scam?

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