Sports betting will be on Nov. ballot, but implementation at least a year away

Updated: May. 29, 2020 at 5:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Voters will get to decide whether sports betting should be allowed in their parishes during the presidential election, though it would not happen where it is approved for at least another year.

Lawmakers agreed to place the measure on ballots, but did not set up the rules and regulations that would be required to implement betting on sports. They cannot begin that debate until 2021 because lawmakers can only create new taxing mechanisms in odd-number years.

Agreeing upon the regulations will be no small feat. In previous years, some lawmakers have voted against the idea for fear that it would lead to more problems associated with gambling.

Other lawmakers argue sports betting is already happening illegally in Louisiana, meaning the state gets all of the ills associated with gaming expansion and none of the cash benefit.

In Mississippi, sports betting has brought in roughly $8 million in state revenue since its implementation nearly two years ago. Casinos that had been struggling saw a bump in revenue after it became legal.

Lawmakers who support the idea say they hope a favorable outcome during the November proposition will encourage their colleagues to vote for the rules and regulations necessary to implement that type of gaming.

Voters in 47 of 64 parishes approved a different kind of betting on daily fantasy sports in 2018. The legislature has yet to approve the rules and regulations for that, but will try again during the special legislative session that begins June 1.

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