Representative John Stefanski

  • The Louisiana State Legislature has until June 10 to pass a bill for its sports betting industry.
  • House Bill 697, which would regulate mobile and retail sportsbooks has passed in the House and is now seeking Senate approval.
  • Louisiana hopes to launch its sports wagering market by the start of the 2021 NFL season.

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana is one step closer to the foundation for their regulated sports betting industry as a measure for the market was approved in the House on Monday. House Bill 697 passed in its third reading on the House floor with a final vote of 77 YEAS and 24 NAYS.

“The people spoke,” said Rep. John Stefanski, primary sponsor to the bill after the vote was taken.

The proposal will now move to the Senate for the necessary approvals before it can be officially signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards.

What Is House Bill 697?

House Bill 697 was once known as House Bill 628 prior to April 22 when the change was made. This measure would allow the 55 of 64 parishes in Louisiana that voted to open sportsbooks in their areas a multitude of options for retail operators.

The Louisiana Lottery would regulate the industry that would have both brick-and-mortar and mobile sportsbooks. Land-based establishments would have a tax rate on all GGR of 10% while online and mobile operators would be taxed at 18% on all revenue made. The current draft of the bill stipulates that 30% of the collected revenue will go to residents statewide with cognitive disabilities.

Each parish with regulated sports betting would be entitled to keep 5% of their industry’s revenue for their own interests. The bulk of the money made through the market would be put toward the Minimum Foundation Program, to fund education initiatives throughout Louisiana.

Under House Bill 697, retail sports betting would be done through terminals provided by the lottery at restaurants and bars among other locations. These areas already have video poker within them so the addition of sports betting machines would make sense. It would also provide these businesses with more chances to profit if they were to offer sports betting in Louisiana.

What’s Next For Louisiana Sports Betting?

Louisiana residents voted to open sports gaming markets in 55 of the 64 parishes in November. The 2021 legislative session has set out to develop a foundation for the market so that a launch could occur by the 2021 NFL season. The session for 2021 adjourns on June 10. A bill will need to be picked by then so that it can be enacted into law on July 1.

No date has been set in the Senate to hear House Bill 697. Another bill for the industry, Senate Bill 202, is expected to be heard in the Senate for the first time on Tuesday. This proposal would only allow 20 sports betting licenses that are already earmarked for the 16 casinos and four race tracks statewide. By comparison, it is likely that House Bill 697 is the measure that will receive passage this session.

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