Louisiana governor signs final sports betting bills

Legal and regulated sports betting is officially coming to the state of Louisiana.

On Tuesday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed the final pieces of sports betting legislation into law.

According to the legislative sponsors in the state, sports betting could go live this fall.

Edwards signs betting bills into law

Louisiana’s governor signed SB 247 and SB 142 into law which establishes the legal framework for online and land-based sports betting in the state.

The passage of the bills comes after the Senate approved the bills and sent them to the governor last week. Prior to this, the governor signed another sports betting bill relating to the industry’s tax and fee structure.

The passage of all three sports betting bills was necessary to get sports betting in the state off the ground.

With the signing of the bills, the legislative process for Louisiana sports betting, which voters approved in November 2020, has come to a close. Sports betting in Louisiana will be legal in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes that voted for the activity.

What’s covered in the bills?

The main regulatory bill for sports betting, SB 247, would provide 20 licenses for the state’s 20 casinos and racinos. Each licence would allow a facility to operate a land-based sportsbook as well as up to two online sports betting skins.

The bill that relates to the tax structure, HB 697, also sets a sports betting licence for the Louisiana Lottery. Under this licence, the Lottery will be able to operate as an online sports betting platform and provide betting via kiosks at bars and restaurants.

With both bills, once the market reaches maturity, there could be 41 online or mobile sports betting products available.

If the state’s racetracks or casinos do not claim the 20 licenses by 1 January 2022, fantasy sports betting operators and video poker establishments may apply for the leftover licenses.

Under the tax bill, an initial application fee for a betting licence will cost $250,000 and there will be a $500,000 licence fee for the first five years. The bill also sets a 10% tax rate on land-based bets and a 15% tax rate for online betting.

Representative John Stefanski, who sponsored the taxation bill, believes the state can generate up to $20m from sports betting on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, SB 142, which allocates tax funds throughout the state will award 25% of tax revenue to the Early Childhood Education Fund. The Sports Wagering Local Allocation Fund will receive 10% while 2.5% will be awarded to the Sports Wagering Purse Supplement Fund

The Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund will receive 2% of tax revenue or $500,000 whichever is greater and 2%, up to $500,000. Will be sent to the Disability Affairs Trust Fund.

The remaining tax revenue will go to the General Fund.

Who will offer sports betting in Louisiana?

Once the market is up and running bettors can expect the state’s casino and racinos operators to offer sports betting. 

Louisiana’s casino and racino operators include Boyd Gaming, Caesars Entertainment, Penn National Gaming, Bally’s, Churchill Downs incorporated, and Golden Nugget, which all offer sports betting in other states.

Online operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel, which contributed to the 2020 Louisiana Wins election campaign for sports betting, are also likely to enter the state.

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