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Louisiana sports betting referendum bill passes house


A bill to arrange a parish-by-parish referendum on whether to legalise sports betting in Louisiana has been passed by the state House of Representatives.

SB130, introduced by Senator Cameron Henry, passed by a 71-24 vote without any amendments in the House, having bene passed by the Senate earlier this month. Because there were no amendments, it will go to the Senate only to be enrolled rather than for a vote, and will then be sent to the governor’s desk.

The bill aims to hold a parish-by-parish referendum on whether to allow sports betting in Louisiana. Only those jurisdictions that vote in favour will be permitted to offer wagering.

The proposition would appear on the ballot of the 3 November, 2020 election. 

Louisiana lawmakers and the Gaming Control Board would then set out rules for licensing, regulation and taxes – should any parishes vote for the proposition – in 2021.

A bill to introduce sports betting earlier than this would not be possible, as no tax rate could be set. The state only considers fiscal matters in odd-numbered years, unless the Governor calls a special fiscal session.

In 2018, 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted to regulate and tax daily fantasy sports. However, Senator Daniel Martiny filibustered the bill after its sponsor, Senator Kirk Talbot, refused to attach the Senator’s sports betting bill to his proposal.

House Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner McGee also proposed a bill in the 2020 session. House Bill 357 passed by a 73-23 vote last week, but did not receive a vote in the Senate. The bill is identical to Henry’s except for a minor technical amendment.

Henry’s bill was one of five bills introduced to regulate sports betting at the start of the legislative session.