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Louisiana sports betting suffers new blow as House rejects amended bill


Louisiana looks set to miss out on sports betting this year after the state’s House of Representatives rejected amendments to a fantasy sports bill that would have given citizens a vote on legalising wagering.

House Bill 459 primarily focuses on legalising daily fantasy sports contests in the state, but having passed the House last month, was then amended by the Senate to also include the sports betting measure.

The amendment set out plans to stage an election for Louisiana citizens to vote on whether the state should also progress with plans to legalise sports betting. It was approved in the Senate earlier this week by a vote of 24-13.

Had it been approved by the House, and secured a majority of votes in the state, it would have cleared the way to implement the regulatory framework for sports betting set out in Senator Daniel Martiny’s Senate Bill 153.

However, the House has moved quickly to reject the amended bill, unanimously voting it down 97-0 during a session yesterday (June 4), ahead of the end of the current legislative session on June 6.

Senate Bill 153 cleared the Senate by a vote of 24-15, but died in the House Committee on Appropriations last week. 

The committee voted to defer the bill, which can now only be resurrected if two-thirds of the committee votes in favour of doing so. With the session ending in days, there is unlikely to be time for the bill’s backers to convince enough committee members to change their minds.

Also known as the Sports Wagering Control Law, SB153 aimed to legalise in-person wagering at licensed casinos, riverboat casinos and racetracks in the state. Mobile betting would also have been permitted on location at licensed venues.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board would have regulated the market, but the bill did not disclose license fees or tax rates.

Last week also saw the end of the road for HB587, the House companion bill for SB153. Although the House voted 49-46 in favour of the bill, as failed to secure of two-thirds of the vote, it did not pass.

Unlike its sister bill, HB587 did include details on licence fees and tax rates, with sports betting providers to pay a $50,000 (£39,368/€44,387) annual fee for a licence, $100,000 for a five-year sports wagering certificate, and a 12% tax on net revenue.

Image: Ken Lund