Louisiana legislature sends sports betting bills to Governor on final day of session

Louisiana is one step closer to launching legal sports betting after the legislature approved a sports betting bill.

On Thursday, the last day of Louisiana’s legislative session, lawmakers in the state approved two pieces of legislation relating to sports betting.

This comes after the State Senate rejected a set of amendments from the House for SB 247 earlier in the week, sending the bill to the conference committee.

Senate approves amendments to SB 247

Louisiana’s Senate has now approved the House amendments to SB 247, a bill that outlines the framework for online and land-based sports betting in Louisiana’s parishes.

During a voter referendum in November 2020, 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to approve sports betting.

There was no discussion when Senator Rich Ward decided to reconsider the amendments from the House. The Senate ultimately voted by a margin of 33-3 to accept the amendments to SB 247.

Under SB 247, online and land-based sports betting will become legal in the state of Louisiana in parishes that approved betting.  According to the bill, 20 sports betting licenses will be made available and each licence holder will be entitled to operate two online sports betting skins.

The Louisiana Lottery will also be awarded an online betting license which means that there could be 41 online or mobile sports betting products available.

However, 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.

Legislature approves SB 142

The conference committee also approved amendments made to SB 142, an appropriations bill that outlines where the money generated from sports betting will go.

Under the bill, 25% of the funds generated will go to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund, while 10% will go to the Sports Wagering Local Allocation Fund.

Money will also be distributed among the parishes where sports betting takes place.

The Sports Wagering Purse Supplement Fund – another new fund – will receive 2.5%, and this will be allocated to prize purses at the discretion of the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

The Disability Affairs Trust and Behavioral Health and Wellness Funds will receive 2% apiece, or $50,000, whichever is greater and the remaining funds will go to the State General Fund.

What happens now?

The two pieces of legislation SB 247 and SB 142 will now go to the Governor for final approval.

Earlier this month the Governor approved HB 697, which sets tax rates, licensing fees, and several other sports betting requirements for the Louisiana market.

Under the bill, land-based sports betting would be taxed at 10% while online betting would be taxed at a rate of 18%. 

The application fee for an operating licence would be set at $250,000 along with another fee of $500,000 once the licence has been issued. Sports betting providers would require a separate licence, which would come with a $100,000 application fee and another fee of $250,000 upon receipt.

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