Louisiana House Clears Sports Betting Bill Amid Tight Deadline

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Louisiana House has approved sports betting legislation nearly two weeks after Senate passed it, and a week before the adjournment. The hopes of sports betting launch by this fall are still alive if the Senate concurs the bill (possibly on Sunday) before sending it to the governor’s desk.

On Thursday night, the lower chamber predominantly supported Senate Bill 247- which sets sports betting regulation- on a vote of 78-15.

The other sports betting bill – House Bill 697 – which sets up taxes and fees, is already on the desk of the governor, awaiting his signature. HB 697 was passed last week.

In Nov. 2020, more than two-thirds of Louisiana parishes approved sports betting. The process of passing the legislative bill on sports betting began in early April.

What Happened on Thursday?

SB 247 was smooth sailing as it was passed on Thursday night. But Rep. John Stefanski, who sponsored HB 697, attached the last-minute amendment that he said was worked out with the upper chamber.

According to the convention, the bill now needs to return to the Senate for its final approval regarding the minor amendments and additional language attached to it.

Louisiana Senate is expected to give its nod to the amended bill on Sunday’s session at 5 p.m. ET.

The Senate had passed SB 247 on May 19, with a 31-6 vote majority. If the upper chamber approves the amended measures, the bill will be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards for his signature before the end of the 2021 session next Thursday.

Edwards has already hinted at his support for sports betting in the past, meaning he will sign the bill.

What Do We Expect from Louisiana Sports Betting?

Under the two bills – SB 247 and HB 697 – Louisiana bettors can place bets on professional sports betting at physical facilities as well as on their mobile phones. If Edwards signs the bills, Louisiana sports betting is expected to launch by fall. But it means regulators – the Gaming Control Board – will have to create rules and vet licensing process against the clock.

Only the 20 existing casinos, including five racinos, can apply for the base licenses. Each license can have two mobile skins.

The digital partners can receive provisional permission to kick-start sports betting in the Sugar State by fall.

Taxes and Licensing Details

The casinos and racetracks will have to pay $250,000 to apply and clear a vetting process after which – if they’re cleared – they will have to pay $500,000 for the Louisiana sports betting licenses, valid for five years.

HB 697 sets tax at retail bets at 10% and 15% on digital bets placed through mobiles or websites. The state will levy taxes on net proceeds payable by the casinos. The money would be reimbursed into the “Sports Wagering Enforcement Fund” in the state treasury.

In addition to 20 casino licenses, sports betting will also be available at sports betting kiosks that will be placed in bars and restaurants serving alcoholic beverages. The Louisiana Lottery Corp. will contract a provider to handle sports betting kiosks across 1000 terminals, for which the lottery will spend $16.4 million.

The kiosk vendors expect 40% of the net proceeds annually.

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