Louisiana Governor Signs Sports Betting Bills, Paves Way For Possible Football Season Launch

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Updated: June 22, 2021

The signing of the legislation follows 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes (similar to counties in other states) voting in favor of allowing sports betting on a November 2020 ballot measure.

Posted: Jun 22, 2021 6:55 PM ET Updated: Jun 22, 2021 6:55 PM ET Est Time: 3 min

Louisiana’s governor has recently signed three sports-betting bills into law, putting the Pelican State on track to start accepting wagers before the next Super Bowl winner is crowned.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, has now put pen to paper on legislation, approved by Louisiana’s Republican-controlled legislature, that lays the foundation for legal sports betting in the state.

The bills include various measures related to the taxing and regulating of sports betting, as well as specifying how the proceeds of wagering in the state will be spent. 

“Sports betting, as you know, has been a hot topic for a number of sessions,” Edwards said during a June 10 press conference. “And while I have signed one bill on this issue already, two more are headed to my desk, one of which dedicates a portion of the tax revenue to early childhood education.”

The signing of the legislation follows 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes (similar to counties in other states) voting in favor of allowing sports betting on a November 2020 ballot measure. 

Moreover, Edwards’ approval puts the 25th largest state in the United States in terms of population — and the home state of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and the NCAA’s Louisiana State University Tigers — on the verge of launching legal sports betting. In doing so, Louisiana is also joining more than two dozen of its fellow states, including a few neighbors, in embracing betting.

One bill that Edwards announced he’d signed on Tuesday was Senate Bill 247, which authorizes the state’s gaming control board to regulate sports betting and issue up to 20 licenses for digital and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. 

First crack at those licenses will go to the state’s land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans, 15 licensed riverboats, and four live horse-racing tracks. If there are any left, starting in 2022, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board can then consider granting licenses to video poker facilities and fantasy sports operators. 

The law takes effect on July 1. In the event there are more applications than the number of licenses available, there would then be a “concealed bid process,” a fiscal note on the bill says. The bill also allows licensees to contract out for mobile betting with a licensed “sports wagering platform provider,” but not more than two. 

S.B. 247’s signing also follows that of a tax bill, which needed to be approved before licenses could be granted, that will impose levies of 10 percent and 15 percent, respectively, on net gaming proceeds for in-person and electronic wagers. The tax bill also allows the Louisiana Lottery Corp. to take sports wagers via website, mobile app, and retail kiosks.

Players will still have to be 21 years of age or older to place a bet in Louisiana, in addition to being physically located in a parish that approved the sports-betting ballot measure. Operators would have to set up “geofencing” and “geolocation” services to nail down where bets are being placed.

Lawmakers have indicated they are hoping to have sports betting up and running in the state while there are still football games to bet on. 

“We would hope that this would be available to the public sometime before the end of the football season,” said Senate President Patrick Page Cortez, S.B. 247’s sponsor, during a May meeting of the House’s criminal justice committee, the Associated Press reported. 


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