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Louisiana Governor signs off on sports betting tax bill


Louisiana has taken a step closer to legal sports wagering after Governor John Bel Edwards signed the first of two bills required to regulate betting in the US state.

Introduced in April, House Bill 697 sets out tax rates, licensing fees and a number of other sports wagering requirements in Louisiana. The bill was passed by the state’s House and Senate last month before moving to the Governor for signature.

Key provisions featured in the bill include taxing retail bets and online bets at 10% and 18%, respectively, as well as a $250,000 application fee for operating licenses and a $500,000 fee on receipt of the license itself.

The bill also stated that sports betting providers would require a unique license – attached with a $100,000 application fee and a $250,000 fee upon receipt.

The Louisiana Lottery Corporation would also be able to partner a sports betting provider in the regulated market, but would have to pay 30% of net gaming proceeds from wagering towards “expenses and costs deemed necessary to administer sports wagering”.

However, in order for Louisiana to open its legal market, the state must also pass another bill. Senate Bill 247 passed the state’s House last week with minor amendments and is now back with the Senate for further discussion.

If signed into law, the bill will require facilities to hold gaming licenses in order to offer sports wagering, regulate gaming license recipients and authorize wagering limitations.

Some 20 licenses will be available to operate a sportsbook in the state, with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to first consider applications from the state’s one land-based casino, 15 riverboats and four racetracks. The Board will also acquire powers to regulate sports wagering.

Amendments from the House included allowing licensees to accept cash wagers in their sportsbooks, the definition of a gaming device to include sports wagering mechanisms and the adoption of necessary rules to regulate sports wagering in Louisiana.

Legal sports betting has been on the cards in Louisiana since November last year, when voters in in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes backed legal wagering.