Louisiana Continues to Push for Gambling Changes

Louisiana

LouisianaGambling expansion has taken center stage in Louisiana as bills involving several categories including daily fantasy sports move forward.

2018 has been a good year for gambling expansion in the United States. Pennsylvania is set to launch online gambling soon as well as expanding in other areas such as satellite casinos. New Jersey is hoping that the United States Supreme Court will rule in their favor and sports betting will be legalized across the US. Several other states are considering legislation involving sports betting along with lottery, online casino and poker options, daily fantasy sports and more.

Taking the forefront in potential gambling expansion is the state of Louisiana. So far this year, the state has seen legislation introduced that would legalize online gambling, daily fantasy sports and sports betting.  The state is also looking to move their riverboat casinos to shore.

Considerations Being Made

Both daily fantasy sports and sports betting were discussed this week, with lawmakers meeting yesterday to decide if the bills regarding these subjects would move forward. The House decided to move the daily fantasy sports bill forward, but the Senate decided to stop the sports betting measure.

Senator Danny Martiny introduced S 266 and hoped to see the bill move forward, allowing the existing gaming venues of the state to offer sports betting. This would have included the riverboat casinos, horse race tracks and video poker venues. The bill was then changed to include just casinos and would need to be approved by voters in each parish before the betting option could become a reality.

The sports bill was able to move through the Committee on Judiciary and then was cast aside by the Committee on Finance after a vote of 6 to 3 against. Lawmakers appear to be worried about expanding the state’s gaming options as well as how much it will cost to implement sports betting.

Representative Kirk Talbot was the one who introduced the bill involving daily fantasy sports, H 484. This bill would see DFS legalized and the creation of the Louisiana Fantasy Sports Contests Act. The state’s Gaming Control Board would be in charge of regulation for DFS operators. The bill was able to move through committee last month and was taken up by the House on Tuesday, passing with a solid vote of 67 to 23.

If the bill passes, it will have to be voted on by residents in a referendum in each parish to move forward. Parishes that give their approval will be able to play the contests provided by operators. Until the bill passes into law, daily fantasy sports remain illegal in Louisiana. The state is one of a select few that actually has DFS deemed as an illegal activity.

Moving Forward

The daily fantasy sports bill will now be assigned to a committee within the state Senate where it will be reviewed by the same people who just shot down the sports betting legislation. The bill will have to move out of committees and then be passed by the full Senate in order to be sent to the governor for approval.

There are only around six weeks left in the current session, so lawmakers will have to act fast if the DFS bill is to move forward. It is unclear as to how the Senate will vote regarding the DFS measure. Hopefully, they choose to vote in favor and Louisiana will be on the path to legalize the option like so many other states have been doing over the past few years.