BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - March Madness generates billions in legal gambling revenue, with more than 47 million Americans estimated to place a bet on this year’s tournament. This year alone, wagers are expected to exceed $8.5 billion.
In November 2020, 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved to legalize sports betting, but it’s one of four states where it’s still not operational. Officials say there are a few things that must happen first before it can move forward.
“So, what’s next? What’s next for us is really for the legislature to enact and legislate what sports betting will look like in Louisiana,” said Mike Noel, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
Noel says lawmakers must now set the parameters of what sports betting will look like.
“Where can sports betting occur? How will it occur? What types of events that bets can be placed on? All of those things have to be worked out.”
The question now is how soon will this happen?
Sen. Rick Ward is expected to author a bill at the upcoming April session where he will answer those questions.
Noel expects the basics to mirror similarly to what the state of Mississippi has in place, but he said we’re more than a year out before it can take into effect.
“So really I think even best-case scenario is you’re looking at 12 or 14 months,” said Noel.
The next legislative session is April 12, 2021.
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