The end of the Louisiana legislative session passed yesterday (June 6), with efforts to pass sports betting legislation failing.
This failure also saw Senator Daniel Martiny filibuster fantasy sports legislation, which had looked to have much better prospects of passing, meaning lawmakers failed to pass any significant gaming bills during the session.
Hopes of passing sports betting legislation by attaching it to House Bill 459 hinged on a conference committee, which was established after the House overwhelmingly rejected the move.
The fantasy sports legislation, filed in two parts in HB459 and HB600 by Representative Kirk Talbot, had set an annual fee of $15,000 for fantasy sports operators, with licensees also required to pay a 15% tax on revenue. HB459 set out operating conditions, with HB600 establishing the tax rates.
This committee, formed on June 5, ultimately decided to reject the sports betting amendment to allow HB459 to pass as a fantasy sports bill, with 25 Senators backing its decision, and 12 attempting to have it overturned.
The House, meanwhile, voted 73-21 in favour of rejecting the amendment and passing the fantasy sports legislation.
Louisiana media reports that Martiny then talked down the clock to ensure that HB600 could not pass before the session’s end, effectively killing HB459 as well.
Martiny’s original proposal to legalize sports betting, Senate Bill 153, died in committee, after the House Committee on Appropriations deferred its passage.
The bills, had they passed, would have been enacted in 47 of the state’s 64 parishes, after citizens in these areas voted in favour of legalising the games in a 2018 referendum.
However, fantasy sports legislation will not be possible until 2021 at the earliest, as Louisiana law states that tax bills can only be debated in odd-numbered years.
Image: Ken Lund