A bill allowing mobile sports betting in Louisiana sailed through a state House of Representatives committee this week. That puts the state one step closer to having legal sports betting by the end of football season.
The Administration of Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 247 without objection at the Capitol in Baton Rouge. The bill now goes to the full House for debate. A date for the bill to be heard on the House floor has not been set, according to the Louisiana State Legislature bill-tracking website.
If approved there, it goes to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for consideration. The Senate approved the measure last week on a 31-6 vote.
The two-month legislative session ends on June 10 at 6 pm.
The bill’s sponsor, Senate President Page Cortez (R), said these steps make sports betting possible by the fall, according to the Associated Press.
We would hope that this would be available to the public sometime before the end of the football season,” the Lafayette lawmaker said in the committee hearing.
The college football season begins in late August. College football bowl and title games extend into January. The NFL’s preseason games start in early August, with the regular seasons kicking off in September. NFL playoffs begin in January. The Super Bowl is in February. The NFL is the most heavily wagered sport in the nation, betting analysts told Casino.org.
Bill Sets Tax Rates
In November, voters in 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes approved sports betting within their parish.
The ballot item did not specify whether sports wagers could be done on mobile devices such as smartphones, or had to be placed in-person at casino sportsbooks or kiosks. That was left for the Legislature to decide.
SB247 would create 20 licenses that would go first to the state’s existing casinos and racetracks. Louisiana has 13 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino in New Orleans, and four racinos. One licensed riverboat casino has closed permanently. Another was temporarily knocked out of service last year in a hurricane. It is expected to reopen by next year.
If these casino properties do not seek a license by Jan. 1, fantasy sports betting operators and video poker establishments could then apply, the AP reported.
Also under the bill, bettors would have to be 21 years old. Geofencing would ensure that a mobile bet is coming from within a parish that approved sports betting. A person living in one of the nine parishes that rejected sports wagering could go to a parish that approved it and place bets there.
A separate bill by Rep. John Stefanski (R) sets the tax on net proceeds for onsite betting at 10 percent. Mobile wagering would bet taxed at 15 percent. The House and Senate have already approved Stefanski’s House Bill 697 by large margins.
Mobile Wagering Absent in Region
No state bordering Louisiana offers legal mobile sports betting.
Casinos in Mississippi and Arkansas could offer it, but only if the bettor is on casino property when using a smartphone app to place a bet. However, no casino in Mississippi or Arkansas has that mobile service available for customers, officials from both states told Casino.org.
In Texas, efforts to legalize casinos and sports betting appear unlikely before the Legislature’s scheduled May 31 adjournment.
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