Sports betting in Louisiana could begin by this fall

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 10:40 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - People in Louisiana could start betting on sports events as early as the fall. According to Senate President Page Cortez, it could happen before the end of football season.

“We’re almost at the final stretch,” said Sen. Regina Barrow.

Before the bill can go into law, a few things must still happen. Lawmakers must hold a House floor debate before Gov. John Bel Edwards can sign it and they have to determine how they would spend the money sports betting could generate.

Barrow said a portion of that money will be designated for early childhood development.

“I’m kind of somewhat happy that we were able to reach a place where we can ensure that those dollars are not only going to come back into our community but they’re going into areas that are going to make a difference,” said Barrow.

Barrow added she wasn’t a supporter of sports betting at first and only decided to jump on board when she knew the money would stay in-state and it would benefit children.

“Early childhood development. Making sure that we are being able to pay for early childhood development in allowing our children to be able to start school early on. I know it’s going to benefit the citizens of Louisiana and the children of Louisiana,” Barrow explained.

Here are the rules lawmakers have set:

  • A player must be 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 sports event in which they are involved.
  • Bets can’t be placed on high school or youth sports events.
  • 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 regulatory proposal would create 20 licenses for sportsbook operators, with Louisiana’s casinos and racetracks given the first chance to get those licenses. If those casinos and racetracks don’t seek all 20 licenses by Jan. 1, fantasy sports betting operators and video poker establishments in the 55 parishes where sports wagering is legal would be able to apply for any available licenses.

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