Sports wagering rules discussed by state committee

By Ryan Nelsen | LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE—The rules and regulations for sports wagering in Louisiana have moved closer to completion with a bill that advanced through a House committee Tuesday.

           SB247, by Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, was heard by the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee and was reported favorably without objection. The bill will bring online and in-person sports betting to the state along with kiosks similar to video poker machines.

           “It’s our hopes that this would be available to the public sometime before the football season, the NFL season, but we don’t know for sure,” said Cortez.

           A referendum last November gave voters the chance to legalize wagering in their parishes, and 55 of 64 parishes elected to do so. Overall, 64% of the state’s voters were in favor.

           The lengthy bill, 35 pages, outlines the rules and procedures a casino or business must follow to earn a license. Twenty licenses will be available for operating sportsbooks, giving first consideration to land-based casinos, the 15 riverboat casinos, and the state’s four racetracks.

           The Senate has already approved the bill. If it is passed by the full House, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will begin working on a regulatory model for operators and bettors to use.

The proposed deadline of the start of fall is unlike the three-year process the state used to enact gambling on fantasy sports, which 47 parishes voted for in 2018. Residents in those parishes should be able to enter fantasy contests before the fall, according to Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division.