Gambling bills to be considered in Louisiana

Louisiana took a very small step toward the legalization of online gambling and sports betting this month with the introduction of a pair of new legislative bills.

Sponsored by Republican Senator Daniel Martiny, the first bill of note, Senate Bill 322, attempts to find a way to legalize online gambling in state counties/parishes. The state is divided into 64 parishes and under the bill sponsored by Martiny, it would allow for parish referendums to decide if they wanted online gambling to be legalized and allowed in the parish. This would include online poker, slots and online casino games. This still seems like a long way to go to get to state-wide regulated and legal online gambling, but it’s at least a start.

The bill did not go into any more detail on how any forms of online gambling would be regulated in the state. The only real details state that any form of online gambling would be limited to persons 21 years and older, and within the limits of the parish where legalization has occurred. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board would most assuredly be involved, but no tax rates, industry regulation or even how the industry would be run were mentioned in the bill or discussed publicly.

Bill on sports gambling also introduced

Louisiana earlier this month also became the latest state to try to get ahead of any potential changes to the legality around sports betting. Introduced by Democratic Representative Major Thibault, House Bill 245 calls for authorizing legal sports gambling at “eligible live horse racing facilities.” They were not precisely named, but it is believed that would include the state’s four racinos – Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Fair Grounds and Louisiana Downs.

The bill describes sports betting as wagering on any type of sport event, including but not limited to football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing, tennis, wrestling, jai alai, or other sports contests or events. The bill does not mention legalizing any form of online or mobile sports betting.

The whole crux of Louisiana and numerous other states considering legalizing sports betting relies solely on a future U.S. Supreme Court decision on the current federal law that outlaws single-game sports betting in most of the country.