Louisiana Sports Betting Bill Goes Into Effect July 1

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Louisiana gaming officials are prepping for regulation of legal sportsbooks under a Louisiana sports betting law set to take effect on July 1. 

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) will issue 20 sportsbook licenses — each with two mobile skins — under the 2021 law in the 55 parishes that voted to legalize sports betting last fall. The legislation was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards on Monday and will take effect next Thursday, along with a tax and licensing bill signed by Edwards on June 4. 

No timeline for initial application and licensing has been posted yet by the LGCB, although the process could move quickly. The new law will allow eligible applicants to receive a temporary certificate to conduct sports wagering until they are licensed to expedite the process.

Fifteen riverboat casinos, four racinos, and one land-based casino in the legal parishes will have first crack at the licenses, albeit with limited time to apply. That deadline is Jan. 1, 2022, or within 30 days of the opening of the application process, whichever is later. Small retailers will be allowed to apply for licenses turned away by casinos and tracks. 

A sportsbook run by the Louisiana Lottery Corporation will also go live under the licensing bill signed into law early this month. Bets through the lottery will be allowed to be placed by mobile app, online, or at bar and restaurant kiosks

The $332-Million-Dollar Louisiana Sports Betting Question

An analysis released by Spectrum Gaming Group pre-pandemic projected a $237 million to $332 million potential Louisiana sports betting market. Much of that revenue– as much as $135 million — would come from online sportsbooks. 

How much state revenue would be generated? Between $35 million and $50 million from gaming taxes alone, according to the Spectrum study. Some estimates project annual tax revenue could reach $60 million

Lawmakers were careful to keep tax rates in the new law below the 15-percent threshold recommended by Spectrum to maximize wagers. Sports bets placed in-person at casinos and racinos under the new law will be taxed at 10 percent, with remote bets taxed at 15 percent. Lottery bets would also be taxed at 10 percent retail and 15 percent for electronic wagers. 

When Could Louisiana Sportsbooks Launch? 

Senate President Page Cortez — the lead sponsor of Senate Bill 247 that authorized 20 licenses for Louisiana sports betting — has said he expects sportsbooks to be up and running in the state sometime during the upcoming NFL season. 

“We would hope … that this would be available to the public sometime before the end of the NFL season,” Cortez told the Louisiana House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice in May.  “That’s what we anticipate.” 

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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