Louisiana sports betting legalization takes its first steps forward
Louisiana is looking to move into the sports betting arena with an inclusive sports betting bill that would bring both and in-person sports wagering to the majority of state parishes.
A sports betting tax bill was moved forward by the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee earlier this week, the first step to the legalization of Louisiana online sports betting and in-person betting.
The House Ways and Means Committee favorably advanced State Representative John M. Stefanski’s (R-42) tax bill, HB 628, that would set a retail and online sportsbook revenue tax rate of 10% and 18%, respectively.
“My mobile rate is high, it will probably be one of the highest in the country, but I believe it’s workable. I believe it’s reasonable,” Stefanski said during the hearing.
Bill details for Louisiana’s sports betting program
Stefanski’s tax bill coincides with a Senate proposal to allow for 20 sports betting licenses, one each for the the state’s 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos and one land-based casino. Each license would 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, according to Stefanski.
“We wanted to find a way for your local bars and restaurants to participate, we think the lottery can do this,” Stefanski said.
Any institution business that offers Louisiana lottery games would be able to participate. The bill also allows any bar or restaurant with a Class-A liquor license to apply for a sports betting kiosk through the Louisiana lottery, he said.
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. Restaurants and bars would only be required to pay an initial application fee of $1,000 and a permit fee of $100 for one year.
Sports betting revenue taken in from the Louisiana Lottery Corporation would support K-12 education, as well as see the creation of a separate sub-fund to support developmentally disabled students in the state, Stefanski said.
Sports betting has just started down the path to legalization and all interested parties will have an opportunity to give input on what they would like to see in the state program, Stefanski assured the committee.
“I ask that you have some faith with me. I’m going to work with everybody and I promise I will not move this on the floor until I have an opportunity for everyone to give their input,” he said.
Majority of Louisiana parishes approved sports betting in 2020 general election
The hearing comes just months after 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes voted in favor of legalized sports betting in the state during the 2020 general election.
By law, the parishes that rejected sports betting will be prohibited from participating in any form of sports betting within their own parish boundary. Stefanski noted no restaurants or bars in these parishes would be permitted to apply for sports betting kiosks through the lottery.
Residents in parishes who rejected the measures would be “geofenced out” of participating in Louisiana online sports betting, he noted.
Louisiana is beginning to explore sports betting as an option at the same time as neighboring Texas is moving its own bill through the state legislature.