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Louisiana sports betting hopes rest on conference committee


Louisiana’s prospects of passing a sports betting bill hinge on a conference committee, which will negotiate whether to include language to legalise sports betting in a fantasy sports bill. 

After Senator Daniel Martiny’s Senate Bill 153, which set out a regulatory framework for sports betting, was shelved, Senators shifted attention to amending an existing bill in order to push through legislation in the current session.

However, the House rejected the sports betting amendment to House Bill 459, forcing the matter to a conference committee, comprised of three Senators and a trio of Representatives.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Kirk Talbot, has reportedly said he would prefer to shelve his bill rather than allow it to pass with the sports betting language.

HB459 sets out a legal framework for fantasy sports contests in Louisiana, which will be permitted in 47 of the state’s 64 parishes, following a statewide referendum on the matter held in 2018.

It establishes a licensing system for fantasy operators, which will be required to pay a $10,000 annual fee, as well as an annual license renewal fee equal to 10% of net revenue.

The Senate had adopted an amendment to the bill that would have seen Martiny’s framework, as set out in SB153, added to the proposal. However the House overwhelmingly rejected this, with 97 Representatives voting in favour of scrapping these amendments, and none voting against.

As a result it falls to the conference committee to decide on whether to include sports betting in HB459. Representative Talbot, alongside Sherman Q. Mack and Nicholas Muscarello, will represent the House on the committee, with Senators Martiny, Gary Smith and Patrick Page Cortez coming from the Senate.

Louisiana’s regular session ends today (June 6), meaning the committee will need to thrash out a framework if the bill is to pass this year.

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