Louisiana Sports Betting Nears Final Passage in Legislature, In Time for 2021 NFL Season
Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images. Pictured: Louisiana State Capitol.
Louisiana lawmakers could pass an online and retail sports betting regulatory bill in the coming days, pushing through another key wagering measure and furthering hopes for a fall 2021 launch.
The Louisiana House of Representatives is set for a final vote on the sports betting regulation bill as early as this week. The companion taxation legislation already cleared both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan margins.
The regulatory bill, which outlines which entities can take bets, is sponsored by Senate President Page Cortez and backed by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder. It already passed the full Senate 31-6 and should see similarly favorable support in the House.
The tax bill is already on to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign the bill or let it pass into law. The regulatory bill is expected to land on Edwards’ desk before the 2021 legislation session adjourns next week.
Assuming passage, Louisiana bettors in 55 of 64 parishes will be able to place a bet from their mobile devices. The state’s 20 combined riverboat casinos, horse tracks and lone land-based casino in New Orleans can also open retail sportsbooks.
Each of those commercial brick-and-mortar facilities can open two online sportsbooks, or “skins,” apiece.
Additionally, a quick final passage means bettors may be able to wager as early as this year’s football season. The Senate’s regulation bill was further amended to allow temporary licenses at state gaming facilities so they could at least start accepting retail bets as soon as possible.
What Comes Next
The speedy progression from bill introduction in April to likely passage in June comes after voters in the vast majority of parishes approved legal sports betting in their respective jurisdictions on a 2020 ballot measure.
Two years earlier, similar daily fantasy sports legislation following a successful ballot measure did not move as quickly. Louisiana DFS sites aren’t expected to launch until later this year, or roughly three years after voters first approved the legal right to do so.
With top elected officials such as Republicans Cortez and Schexnayder, as well as Democrats such as Edwards largely aligned, Louisiana’s sports betting hopes have avoided many of the political obstacles that have delayed or derailed legalization in other states.
If passed this month, state regulators must still finalize sportsbook rules and then license each applicant. This process typically takes several months.
It’s also unlikely all eligible skins go live this year. Some gaming facility skins are unlikely to earn approval this year and several may not even announce partnerships until sometime in the future.
Still, Louisiana bettors should expect most if not all major sportsbook brands to enter the state.
Harrah’s New Orleans, the state’s land-based casino, is undergoing extensive renovations and will rebrand under its parent company’s Caesars name. Caesars should be among the first live retail and online sportsbooks.
Other top sports betting operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel, which are both in the process of bringing their respective daily fantasy products to the state, are also expected to open digital and retail sportsbooks in the state.
Other leading sportsbooks with existing Louisiana casino partnerships include:
- Boyd (B Connected)
- Penn National (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Churchill Downs (TwinSpires)
- Golden Nugget
Louisiana’s legislative path from bill introduction to final vote has been almost seamless. Assuming no unforeseen obstacles, legal wagering could begin in football-crazy Louisiana by this fall.
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