One bill down, one more to go, as Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the first sports betting bill into law.

Edwards put his signature to Rep. John M. Stefanski’s (R-42) sponsored tax bill, HB 697, to officially set tax rates for Louisiana’s sports betting program. His approval provides further hope for lawmakers and state officials that sports betting will be kicked off by the start of the NFL season in the state.

This comes just several days after the Louisiana House of Representatives passed the final bill of the state’s sports betting plan, SB 247, by a vote of 78-15. This bill was approved by the House with amendments and must be sent back to the Senate for concurrence. It will likely be passed by the Senate and then also sent to the governor for his signature.

A third bill, SB 142, which provides for the disposition of funds generated by sports wagering, is being discussed by the House this morning and may possibly be voted on by the end of today.

Where will Louisiana sports betting be allowed?

Once the necessary bills are signed by Edwards, sports betting will be legal in 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes that approved the measure in the November 2020 general election. Once approved, in-person and online sports betting will not be permitted for residents living in the following parishes:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • LaSalle
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

Louisiana’s foray into the sports betting arena began last month when Stefanski introduced his tax bill to the House Ways and Means Committee. Originally, Stefanski proposed a retail and online sportsbook revenue tax rate of 10% and 18%, respectively. He reduced the rates to 10% and 15% for the final version of the bill.

The proposal will allow for 20 sports betting licenses, one each for the the state’s 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos (horse tracks) and one land-based casino. Each license will also include two mobile licenses, which could mean a potential of 41 “skins” for Louisiana online sports betting. The one additional skin would be allotted to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.

Each facility applying for a sports betting license would have to construct a retail sportsbook to be eligible.

In-person and online sports betting permitted

Gaming facilities would pay an initial application fee of $250,000 and then a $500,000 franchise fee that would cover the facilities for five years.

Facilities with Class-A onsite consumption liquor licenses can receive a mobile wagering device, called a kiosk, to allow patrons to participate in online sports betting while in their facility. This would be run under the purveyance of the Louisiana Lottery Corporation and revenue would be taxed at 10%.

Sports betting rules must be finalized by Louisiana lawmakers and each sportsbook must be individually licensed. The final bill does include temporary sports betting licenses for approved applicants that could hasten the process.