Louisiana Looking Deeper into Legalized Sports Betting

In Baton Rouge this week, Louisiana legislators had a hearing to look deeper into regulated sports betting. The state had several proposed bills this year but none were passed; this latest hearing was to help them get ahead of the issue before the next legislative session starts.

The Sports Betting Panel

No official testimony was given at the hearing for the Senate panel; rather, it was an informal chat about how they can keep Louisiana ahead of the sports betting curve. As of right now, only Nevada and five other states have operating sportsbooks.

In an article from US Bets, Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones spoke about the purpose of this panel,

“It’s important to start the discussion ahead of the session. The more information we can get into the record and talk about in advance is good from a public policy standpoint.”

The Board has remained neutral to the whole concept of sports betting legalization. He went on to say,

“There’s been a lot of discussion on whether we want to expand gambling to sports. Well, I’ve got news for everybody: People are betting on sports today. If you would Google, on your desktops, ‘how can I place a bet in Louisiana,’ 15 to 20 sites will pop up. None are licensed in Louisiana, none are located in Louisiana, but they are happy to take your money in an uncontrolled and unregulated environment. Nobody is protected that way. It’s absolutely not taxed here, and you’re not guaranteed to get your winnings from offshore.”

Besides Louisiana bettors going to illegal bookies and offshore gambling sites, there are also concerns that Mississippi is ahead of the game; that state launched legal sports betting on August 1st.

Will Mississippi Help?

At the Senate panel meeting, Allen Godfrey, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission made some comments. He talked about how his state started with efforts to regulate daily fantasy sports, and followed New Jersey’s example for sports betting.

Legal vs Illegal Betting

Legislators in Louisiana know that sports betting isn’t a hugely lucrative business, but some revenue from the activity is better than none, which is how it is now. Illegal bookies and offshore betting sites are benefitting. As for illegal betting, Jones said “there is a huge illegal market out there.”

This isn’t the first time the Magnolia State has gone up against the black market. In the early ‘90s, Louisiana regulated video poker gambling, which pulled people back to the legal market.

Godfrey went on to discuss black market sports gambling:

“You’ll never get rid of the black market because there’s no tax reporting, it’s anonymous, and sometimes you don’t want to be seen in a certain place. There’s no paper trail and I think that’s the popularity. There’s just a culture and tradition of people calling someone that their grandfather or father has used.”

He hopes that once the culture accepts sports betting as a legitimate activity, it could change the way people view illegal betting. He cautioned the panel, however, and said that sports betting needs to be convenient for bettors in order to pull them from black market betting into the legitimate sports gambling market.

The Next Legislative Session

As mentioned, the purpose of this panel was to begin discussions on sports betting and to look at how the sports betting landscape has changed throughout the country. There are State Senators who feel that the rest of the country, and the world, will end up far ahead of Louisiana if the state doesn’t get going with legalized sports betting sooner than later.

The goal is to get a bill drafted and passed in the next legislative session which runs from April 8th through June 6th. State Senator Danny Martiny has already gone on record saying that he will have a bill ready for the session. Not only does he want the state to get in on the action, but he also wants Louisiana to keep up with its neighbor – Mississippi.

Potential Sports Betting Revenue

The biggest reason why State leaders are pushing for sports betting is the potential amount of revenue that the state could earn. The American Gaming Association believes that Louisiana could generate up to $288 million dollars a year and that the state could earn $50 to $60 million in taxes.

Share
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site.

Recent Posts

Legalized Sports Betting Takes Another Step Forward in Louisiana

The odds of Louisiana legalizing sports betting just got a lot better as both chambers of the Legislature decided that…

May 27, 2020

NASCAR Is Thinking Global with Its New International Sports Betting Deal

While there are several sports leagues trying to lobby for legalized sports betting in various states, it looks like NASCAR…

May 26, 2020

Odds Improve for Legal Sports Betting In Louisiana

The effort to legalize sports betting passed the Senate and is now on its way to the House where it…

May 21, 2020

New York State Senator Continues to Push for Mobile Sports Betting

For those in New York State who were left feeling less than impressed with the amount of online sports betting…

May 19, 2020

Maryland Will Allow Voters to Have a Say on Legalized Sports Betting

It looks as though Maryland voters will be the driving force and deciding factor behind whether or not sports betting…

May 12, 2020

Legalized Sports Betting Bill Moves Forward in Louisiana

As more and more states move to legalize sports betting, it seems that Louisiana may be on the same path;…

May 7, 2020