The sports betting revolution in the United States has progressed more quickly in some states than others since the Supreme Court decision of 2018. Still, hopes are high among sports betting fans and betting operators that Louisiana may be on the brink of a new sports betting era.
A major campaign promoting the cause of sports betting, highlighting its potential to fund education and other public causes, has recently been launched in the state.
The campaign, known as Louisiana Wins, is aiming to boost support for a crucial referendum next month that would legalize sports betting in the state. Such a vote is an essential precursor to effective sports betting legislation and regulations to support the new sector.
As well as highlighting the potential benefit of sports betting taxes to education, Louisiana Wins is also promoting the possibilities that infrastructure programs throughout the state could benefit from an estimated $330 million in tax revenue raised from the sector. That figure lies towards the high end of estimates for the potential for sports betting revenue, which one analyst has said could range from $237 million to $332 million annually.
Big Name Funding
The campaign mirrors that in another state, Maryland, where leading sportsbooks DraftKings and FanDuel are funding an education-centric push to back a similar vote.
In Louisiana, the backing for a Yes vote includes contributions from some of the big names in US betting. According to reports, DraftKings and FanDuel, along with Caesars, have each given $250,000 to support the effort. Penn National, operators of the Barstool Sportsbook betting brand, has given $125,000, while there has also been a $100,000 contribution from Boyd Gaming, a company that has struck agreements with both FanDuel and MGM Resorts.
The big operators’ total contributions amount to $975,000, and the campaign is also backed by a host of other casinos and gaming operators in the state. Although the sums are considerable, those involved are likely to see it as money well spent if the vote goes their way.
Sports Betting Roadblocks
Despite the significant financial and organizational push to bring about sports betting in Louisiana, some potentially tricky barriers are still overcome.
Unlike the vote in Maryland, the Louisiana referendum will be parish by parish. That means sports betting will need to be approved by a majority of the parishes in the state. The good news for the pro-sports betting lobby is that the evidence of the 2018 vote on Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) suggests that a majority is likely. That vote fell 47-17 in favor of legalization, so Louisiana Wins will be confident of carrying a similar majority.
But the DFS experience also suggests that the path to legalization will not run smoothly. Despite voters’ approval for DFS legalization two years ago, the foundation of regulations necessary to support legalization has still not gone live, and the preparations for a sports betting sector in the state would be considerable. The state legislature will be required to pass two separate bills: an enabling Act and a bill to cover the taxation of sports betting revenue, followed by the underpinning regulations, all of which could yet delay the advent of sports betting in the state.
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