The question of legalizing sports wagering or betting in Louisiana is scheduled to appear on the ballot in November this year, providing state voters with an opportunity to decide the fate of the controversial activity.
Sports wagering, which is also known as sports betting, is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. While it is legal in many parts of the United States, some states don’t allow it. It could become legal in the state of Louisiana as well if voters approve it in November. However, it will be a lengthy process and wagers will likely not be legitimized in the Pelican State before 2021. It means that Louisiana voters will be able to decide the future of sports wagering by voting on it later this year but it could be awhile before they can start betting on local teams like Saints.
Sports betting legislation passed through the Louisiana Senate earlier this year, and the House of Representatives gave green signal to a companion bill by voting 71-24 a few days back. Now, the bill will go to Governor John Bel Edwards (D) for his signature. The Democrat governor has already announced his support for the bill. It is also important to note here that the issue of sports wagering in Louisiana will not be decided on a statewide basis. Rather, voters in each and every of 64 parishes in the state will endorse it or reject it. It means sports wagering could become legal in some parts of Louisiana and remain illegal in others.
The legislation of the activity will allow for operators of nearly fifty gaming properties in the state, including commercial casinos, racetracks and tribal casinos, to apply for sports betting licenses in parishes where the measure will get voters’ approval. There is no guarantee that the measure will advance as planned even if voters approve sports wagering. In 2018, voters in nearly four dozen parishes of the state had approved daily fantasy sports (DFS), but that measure collapsed because politicians failed to agree on regulatory terms.
If Louisiana voters give their approval to the measure, policymakers will likely be eager to agree on regulatory terms on getting sports wagering off the ground as the Pelican State is struggling to get rid of hefty revenue shortfall forced by the prolonged closure of casinos due to the deadly corona virus pandemic.