As excitement continues to build in anticipation of all the major professional sports returning to live action, it seems that the time may be right for Louisiana to go ahead and legalize fantasy sports as well.
Just this week, lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on the tax rate for fantasy sports, which means it’s one step away from becoming a reality. This is the closest the state has been to allowing fantasy sports and it’s potentially coming just in time for football season.
The question now becomes whether or not fantasy sports can open the door for state leaders to legalize sports betting as well.
Thanks to the lawmakers in all 47 parishes, fantasy sports could become legal throughout the entire state provided the Governor signs the bill into law.
Fantasy sports makes it possible for participants to put together their own “dream team” of players that are currently playing in the various sports leagues. You can then go on to earn points based on how the player performed in the game. Fantasy football is the most popular form of this gaming.
Big companies like FanDuel and DraftKings offer cash payouts to the winners and there is typically an entry fee to join and create your own team. Both companies are not only the leaders in fantasy sports gaming, but they’re also two power players in the sports betting industry as well.
Lawmakers have managed to come to an agreement where tax is concerned, which they are placing an 8% tax on fantasy sports. That tax revenue would then go towards funding early childhood education programs.
As for how much fantasy sports could generate the state in tax revenue, it’s estimated to be around a few hundred thousand dollars each year.
House Bill 64 was passed by a vote of 82-11, which was conducted in a special session. The Senate then voted in favor of the bill with a 36-0 count. It’s now off to the Governor where he’s expected to sign and push the bill through.
As for the specifics, in order to take part in fantasy sports participants will need to be at least 21 years of age. The fantasy team cannot include any players in a youth sports event or high school sports event.
The way the taxing will work is that it will be charged on the net revenue of the various operators that will be present in the state. What that means is that the total entry fees collected will be taxed, with the winnings paid out subtracted from that total.
As for the vote to move ahead with legalized fantasy sports, it passed by a resounding 75% in all of the parishes in the state. That was back in November 2018 during the election. What has held up fantasy sports is that the tax rate had to be set as well as the creation of the rules.
First the legislative action has to be completed and then it’s up to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board to start providing licenses to fantasy sports operators. The idea is that it will happen sooner rather than later as the final steps can move along fairly quickly.
Although there hasn’t been any official comments on the timeframe, many proponents are hoping this process will be wrapped up by mid-September when the NFL and College Football begin. Fantasy football is the most lucrative and popular option from daily fantasy games to season long leagues.
For the last two years, fantasy sports and sports betting have been a tag-team of legal issues that proponents and residents have been pushing for. Unfortunately, both seemed to have been stuck behind outdated thinking from the opposition.
Over the last few months, the tides have turned and not only has fantasy sports become a reality, but sports betting is well on its way to being legalized as well.
Fantasy sports opens the door for sports betting as national operators like FanDuel and DraftKings will have already established a presence in Louisiana with their fantasy gaming.
Once sports betting becomes legal, these operators can quickly get a jump start on the opposition and offer this gaming to their large customer base.
Recently, the Louisiana Governor passed a bill where voters can weigh in on the topic of sports betting this November during a statewide voting session. Most pundits believe that voters will resoundingly pass sports betting, which will then move the issue to the front of the line in the 2021 legislative session.
From there, it’s expected to pass through both the House and Senate. Eventually, this bill would land on the Governor’s desk where he will sign off on it. If all goes well, Louisiana could see legalized sports betting by the fall of 2021.
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