LA officials weigh in on sports gambling decision

Updated: Feb. 12, 2018 at 9:16 AM CST
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SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deciding how to vote on a moratorium that could undo the current law that prohibits sports gambling across the country.

As of right now, only certain places like Las Vegas and parts of New Jersey are allowed the right to hold sports booking in their casinos.

According to the American Gaming Association, an estimated $4.8 billion was recently wagered on the Super Bowl, with most of the money bet illegally.

Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Board, Ronnie B. Jones, told KSLA News 12 that 14 other states have already approved pre-filed bills to introduce in this coming legislative session, banking that the Supreme Court will overturn the law.

Jones says as of now, Louisiana is not one of those states.

"There has been some street talk that a bill might be introduced, but so far, there have been none filed," said Jones.

Rocky Rockett with the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation says this kind of change could legitimize sports betting and give a percentage of that money back to police, fire departments, and education.

"If the Supreme Court disallows this moratorium and rules it as a monopoly or violating fair trade then states would be open to doing sports books in their allotted casinos," said Rockett.

In Vegas casinos, wagers are placed in massive gaming rooms with televisions where those betting can sit and enjoy the game.

Rockett says if the laws did change, the same could theoretically take place at the casinos in Louisiana.

"What a lot of states are doing and I understand now that Louisiana may be leaning away from this, at least this session, is to do a pre-piece of legislation to say that should this happen, then these boats would be allowed to add sports books to their existing floor space."

Sports organizations like the NBA have already come out in support of changing the laws.

"We're a market that doesn't have MLB, NBA, NCAA, or NFL so we kind of sit outside of those regulated areas where they're going to have issues with people making bets in cities where the game is taking place a mile or two away."

It's not clear when the Supreme Court's decision will be made.

Louisiana's regular legislative session begins on March 12th.

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