The odds of Louisiana legalizing sports betting just got a lot better as both chambers of the Legislature decided that the voters should have a say in the passage of sports betting in the state.
With that said, the issue of legalizing sports betting will be asked in a referendum on the November general election ballot. All early projections believe that residents will approve sports betting later this year.
While it has been agreed upon that it will be up to the voters to approve the legalization of sports betting, it seems everything is not wrapped up just yet. There are still a few details that need hammering out. These will most likely be completed in the final week of the legislative session.
The bill did have an opportunity to pass in its’ original form through the Louisiana House, but it seems not everyone was on-board with Senator Cameron Henry’s efforts.
There was another sports betting bill that was brought up and in fact pushed, which was a bill created by Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee. This bill contained an addition to Henry’s bill and it ended up passing 73-23.
What makes things interesting is that Magee’s bill, H 357 used all the same language regarding sports wagering as Henry’s bill did. And, that bill passed with a vote of 29-9. However, the small variation in the bills was enough to pass MaGee’s and not Henry’s.
The addition to Magee’s bill was the following: “participation in sports wagering . . . shall not be considered gambling by computer”.
This may sound like a small detail, but of course it has its own implications. Senator Henry explained that the added section means casinos will be allowed to enter a wager into the computer on account of someone else.
Henry has also stated that he supports the new language and would go ahead and include it in the bill that should pass in the next session.
At this point, all eyes are now on the Senate where Magee’s bill will be presented to a committee first. The bill will need to get approved via the committee before it can actually be read on the Senate floor.
It appears this week’s meetings and debates will likely make the decision final as to whether or not sports betting will end up on a referendum in November.
State leaders don’t have the luxury of time to keep making tweaks and adjustments since to any sports betting bill as the legislative session adjourns on June 1st , which is less than a week away. This is a fact that hasn’t gone by unnoticed by Senators such as Henry:
“The most important thing is to get sports wagering on the ballot to give the people of Louisiana the choice of if they want it in their parish.”
This will certainly be a historic week in Louisiana as we should find out within a few days whether or not voters will have a say on sports betting in November.
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