Earlier this week, lawmakers in the state of Louisiana took the first step towards legalizing sports betting in the state.
On 30 April, the state Senate approved the bill, SB 153, by a vote of 24-15. The bill has now been received in the House where it will be voted on by the rest of the legislature.
If the bill is successful it won’t legalize sports betting in Louisiana on its own. Instead, it will create a ballot question where voters in the state will be asked whether they want to authorize sports betting.
Just like the daily fantasy sports bill that was approved by a majority of the state last year, residents will be required to vote on sports betting on a parish-by-parish basis.
If approved, casinos in parishes that authorize sports betting could begin offering the activity by January 2020.
What’s in the Louisiana bill?
If sports betting is legalized, residents and visitors will be able to bet on professional and collegiate sporting events at gambling venues in the state.
Under the proposed legislation, the state’s 16 casino venues and four racetracks would be able to apply for sports betting licenses.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will be responsible for overseeing and regulating the Louisiana sports betting market.
The bill does not set a tax rate or a licensing fee, this will need to be ironed out before any of the state’s venues offer sports betting.
The bill will not allow state-wide mobile or online sports betting.
No state-wide mobile betting
Under the proposed bill, state-wide mobile sports betting will not be allowed in Louisiana. However, on Tuesday the Senate amended the bill to include a “Mississippi mobile” provision.
This provision is named after Mississippi’s gambling law which allows punters to wager using mobile devices if they are located on casino property.
However, this provision is a lot more restrictive than Mississippi’s mobile sports betting laws.
In Mississippi, casino patrons can place wagers via mobile devices from anywhere on casino property. This means that punters at a resort can make bets from their hotel rooms, restaurant areas or even by the pool.
According to the Louisiana bill, mobile sports betting will be “restricted to those areas of a Riverboat, Track or Land-Based Casino that are restricted to persons at least 21 years of age or older.” This means the Lousiana’s bettors will need to be physically located on the casino floor or in a specific area to bet on mobile.
If approved, the lack of state-wide mobile wagering could prove detrimental to Louisiana’s sports betting market.
The benefit of state-wide mobile betting has been seen in New Jersey where mobile betting has dominated the market. In the last three months, 80% of sports bets in New Jersey were placed via a mobile sports betting app.
As the legislative session is set to end on 6 June, the House will have five weeks to consider the bill. In that time anything can happen, there is even a small possibility that lawmakers in the state could change their tune and move to authorize state-wide mobile betting.
In other regulatory news, lawmakers in Iowa, Montana, Indiana and Tennessee have sent sport betting bills to their respective Governors for final approval, all of which contain provisions for mobile betting.