Casinos, racetracks will have priority in applying for sports betting licenses in La.

Consumers could place bets as early as fall of 2020
(Credit: KSLA)
Published: Jun. 17, 2021 at 1:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 9:58 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Sports betting is set to take off in northwest Louisiana this year.

While Gov. John Bel Edwards will consider the final regulations for sports betting in the state, many businesses are putting in their applications for licenses.

“July 1st, the bill becomes effective, but state lawmakers have to make the rules for casinos to follow,” Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Mike Noel previously told KSLA News 12. “The state will give 20 licenses to brick and mortar casinos.”

Senate Bill 247 is awaiting the governor’s signature after being passed through both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature.

Of the 20 licenses available in the state, casinos and racetracks have first priority until Jan. 1, 2022. If they do not use all the licenses, fantasy sports betting operators and video poker establishments can apply. It will cost them $250,000 just to apply then another $500,000 for a five-year license, if approved.

Potentially, people could start placing sports bets as early as fall 2021 or early 2022 in permitted parishes.

“Football season sometimes is appropriate, but not necessarily the beginning of football season. I’m not saying at the end either,” said Maj. Chuck McNeal, of Louisiana State Police’s gaming enforcement division.

Voters in 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved sports betting during the November 2020 elections. Sabine is the only parish in northwest Louisiana to reject sports betting; seven others in the state also voted against the measure.

There are some rules that must be followed, according to KSLA News 12′s sister station WAFB:

  • A player must be age 21 or older,
  • They must set up an account with a sports betting operator in the state and be physically located in a parish that voted to legalize the wagers,
  • Athletes, coaches and referees can’t bet on a sporting event in which they are involved,
  • Bets can’t be placed on high school or youth sports events, and,
  • Someone who lives in a parish that didn’t approve sports betting could place bets if they drive over to a parish where the wagering was legalized.

The week of June 7, Edwards signed House Bill 697 into law, which establishes that in-person wagers will be taxed at 10% while mobile or online bets will be taxed at 15%. Those would be paid by the primary licensee.

Senate Bill 142, which also has been sent to the governor’s desk, says once the state starts making money from sports betting:

  • 25% of the revenue would go toward early childhood education,
  • 12% would be routed to local governments, and,
  • 2% would be set aside for the Disability Affairs Trust Fund, among others.

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