Louisiana Governor signs sports betting referendum bill

The state of Louisiana is one step closer towards legal sports betting.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signed a bill into law that will arrange a parish-by-parish referendum on whether to legalise sports betting in the state.

This news comes after the Louisiana State Senate approved the sports betting proposal by a vote of 29-8.

The bill, SB 130, was introduced by Senator J Cameron Henry and will allow each parish in the state to vote of whether sports betting should be permitted in the jurisdictions.

What will happen now?

The sports betting proposition will appear on the ballot during the 3 November election.

Once the election has taken place, Louisiana lawmakers and the Gaming Control Board will set out the licensing rules, regulations, and tax rate in 2021.

Before sports wagering can go live, the state legislature must develop and approve sports betting rules, taxes, and fees. This is not permitted during a non-fiscal (even-numbered) year unless the state’s governor calls a special fiscal session.

This may lead to challenges that could delay the enactment of the state’s sports betting legislation, as was the case with the state’s daily fantasy sports legislation.

In 2018, 47 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to regulate and tax real-money daily fantasy sports contests. However, Senator Daniel Martiny filibustered the legislation that would have opened the state’s market after another Senator, Kirk Talbot, refused to attach the Senator’s sports betting bill to his fantasy sports proposal.

Casinos in the state reopen

Last month, Louisiana became one of the first US states to reopen its casinos after they were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Louisiana’s casinos were given the green light to reopen on 18 May after the state’s Governor lifted several restrictions relating to the pandemic. However, the casinos are subject to several health and safety measures to help keep customers and employees safe.

To help allow for social distancing, the state’s casinos and video poker venues will only operate at 25% capacity, while offering only 50% of their gaming positions. The gaming positions in these venues will also be spaced out to allow for social distancing.

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