Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Signs Sports Betting Bill, But Senate Rejects Bill’s Counterpart
Louisiana sports betting received terrific news as Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed the first of two sports betting bills into law. The bill that was signed into law was HB 697, which is the bill that sets the tax rates and fees in regards to sports betting throughout the state. Louisiana looked to be on its way to getting sports betting legislation done in a record time. This was in stark contrast to daily fantasy sports in which the legislation process dragged on for over a year.
The second bill that needs to be signed into law for the launch process to commence in Louisiana is SB 247. However, this bill, which had just passed the House with some amendments, has been rejected by the Senate. In a 36-0 vote, the Senate voted to reject the amendments made by the House, and now the bill will be referred to committee.
With House Bill 697 over and done with, the tax rate and fees regarding sports betting and sportsbooks in Louisiana are done. That bill is signed into law. However, its counterpart, SB 247, is also needed for sports betting to be fully legalized and operational in the state. SB 247 is arguably more important as it is the bill that sets the rules and regulations regarding sports betting.
SB 247 was widely believed to be passed, but in a landslide 36 to 0 vote, the Senate rejected the amendments. This shows that not only were experts wrong about the Senate in regards to their acceptance of the amendments, but it also shows that there are some major disagreements between the Senate and House.
Now, the bill heads to committee again in the Senate. This could throw a major wrench into Louisiana’s plans to launch sports betting prior to the 2021 NFL Season. While everything looked to be going smoothly, this bill could cause major holdups, pending what the disagreements are between the two chambers of state legislators.
Sports Betting Details
Prior to this rejection, it was expected that Louisiana could have a possible 41 sportsbook operators in the state. This came by giving the 20 gaming facilities, casinos, race tracks, etc., two sports betting skins each. Then, the Louisiana Lottery would also be given one sports betting skin. Regulatory power was given to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board under SB 257. The legal betting age for sports betting would be 21 under this bill.
Now, it is completely unclear what the Senate will want to change. It is possible that this bill will need a complete overhaul to something else. This could take up precious time and push back that ideal Fall 2021 launch date for sports betting in Louisiana.
What we do know with HB 697’s signing is that there will be a 10% revenue tax on casinos and a 15% revenue tax on online sports betting. This is a pretty standard tax rate in terms of modern sports betting bills throughout the United States.