Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: Sports betting in Louisiana moved a step closer when a bill was passed by the Senate in April 2019 and by the House Committee in May 2019. However law makers failed to pass the sports betting bill on the final day of the session. As such, the public will not be given the chance to vote on sports betting in a referendum in 2020. Lawmakers don’t return to session until March 2020 where the issue of sports betting is likely to be brought up again.
ETA: Sports betting in Louisiana is in a state of limbo at present.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision in May 2018 to strike down a 1992 law that prohibited sports betting in most parts of the USA, Louisiana politicians began exploring the possibility of bringing this form of gambling to the state.
A bill was drafted to allow wagering on professional and collegiate sports via Louisiana’s four horse racing tracks, 15 riverboat casinos and at one land-based casino in New Orleans. Slot machines would also be permitted at these venues.
The bill passed its first hurdle in April when it was passed by the state Senate with a majority of 24-15. It then moved to the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice, where it was amended to remove the expansion of video poker before passing by an 11-6 vote. The next step will see the bill debated by the House Appropriations Committee and the full House of Representatives.
The bill requires 53 votes to pass the next stage and may be amended along the way. If the bill passes through the full house, the final decision will lay in the hands of voters at the ballot box. A survey published in April 2019 suggested 59% of voters supported the legalization of sports betting.
The first state-run casino appeared in New Orleans in 1753, well before the civil war. By the time it became a US territory in 1803, gambling was widespread in the state. Such was their popularity, in 1812, New Orleans remained exempt from a gambling ban. And when casinos were banned outright, they continued to operate across the state where they were occasionally raided but mostly ignored.
The first state lottery was launched in 1866 but was later privatized. It proved hugely successful but a change of Governor and new legislation brought it to an end in 1899.
Pari-mutuel betting on horse races was legalized at the New Orleans Fair Grounds in the 1920s. By this time, this was the only legal form of gambling still available. The next expansion of gaming came in 1986, when moves to launch a state lottery began. This was eventually put to a people’s referendum in 1990 and the proposal was approved. Lottery gaming eventually returned to the state in September 1991. This was quickly followed by the approval of 15 riverboat casinos and video poker machines. The first tribal land-based casinos were opened in 1993 and slot machines were approved at race tracks in 1997.
Sports betting is not currently legal in Louisiana.
No one currently controls sports gambling in Louisiana. However, any future sports betting will be regulated by the state.
If the bill passes to law, sports betting would be limited to gamblers aged 21 years and over.
At this moment in time, you cannot legally bet on sports in Louisiana.
No casino or sportsbook currently offers legal sports betting in the state.
No operators currently offer legal sports betting in the state but they will soon be free to do so.
Martiny has claimed that sports betting in Louisiana could generate anywhere from $40 million to $60 million annually, although some feel those figures may be a little optimistic.
The Louisiana sports betting bill has proposed a tax rate of 13% on net proceeds.
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