New Orleans Bans Sports Betting, California Limits Bingo
The state of Louisiana is one of the more reluctant countries when it comes to sports betting regulation. Even as it considers itself as a sports-betting-friendly state, there have been issues with how they regulate and protect sports betting across the state. As a result, the state is lagging behind other states, such as Mississippi, when it comes to sports betting regulation. There are even proposals currently being considered in the state legislature to change the law from an absolute prohibition to a partial legalization. However, this proposal will not become a reality anytime soon, so for now, it seems that the law in Louisiana remains the same.
In 2021, voters in the state did elect to legalize sports betting in the state. However, the new laws still contained some gray areas. For example, only licensed gambling establishments were able to participate in the games. This meant that out of the five parishes in the state, only two could offer legalized betting. This meant that people who wished to bet on sports in Louisiana had to go through one of the above two parishes. Furthermore, during the election, polls showed that most of the citizens in the state opposed legalizing sports betting, mostly because of the presence of the two unlicensed establishments in the state.
Despite the lack of support for legalizing sports betting among the citizens of the state, members of the House and Senate voted in favor of it at the November 2021 referendum. However, Governor John Bell Edwards signed the bill into law on December 3rd. As soon as the new laws were implemented, there were many complaints from local gambling establishments who felt “under the gun” by Edwards’ administration. Local restaurateurs were particularly upset because it meant that they would have to close down many of their restaurants and bars. The legality of the new law was called into question over the course of the next year. A group of lawyers filed a suit against Edwards claiming that the constitution requires that a county “preserve and maintain the statutory regulation of gaming, gambling and sports betting.”
Because Edwards did not appoint an attorney to handle the case, the suit was eventually dropped by the Louisiana State Supreme Court. However, the court allowed the Louisiana State Board of Parole and Probation to impose a three-year ban on casinos in the state if voters approve a proposition for a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. As the result of this announcement, the only legal sports betting in Louisiana has been illegal since the 2021 elections. In order to regain the right to legally wager on sports, eligible voters in the following upcoming elections will have to sign a petition requesting that the ban be reinstated.
The reasons given by the Louisiana State Legislature for wanting to ban legalized sports betting are that it would “encourage” gambling, reduce state revenue and make it difficult for newspapers to advertise lottery tickets. However, opponents to lifting the ban say that there is no legitimate need to limit people’s rights to legal gambling. If voters approve the amendment to the constitution at the November election, they will again be able to wager on gambling games. According to the Louisiana State Constitution, the new amendment “does not affect the civil status or right to enjoy certain privileges, benefits or immunities provided by law to any individual.”
The question before the Louisiana Supreme Court was not whether daily fantasy sports betting would be legal in the state; it was instead whether the state legislature had the power to ban it during the 2021 election. The court ruled unanimously in favor of the state. This means that Louisiana sports bettors can once again place bets on daily fantasy sports games, as they can before the ban. The court did warn, however, that if voters do not approve of the amendment again on the next ballot, it will be possible for the state to implement a casino within the next decade.
Opponents of legalized sports betting in Louisiana fear that the growth of the online gambling industry, which now has its own gambling website, will undercut the state’s gambling and gaming revenues. They also fear that the new amendment will allow sports book owners to deny games to customers that they consider too risky, or simply refuse to participate in wagering on a sports game. According to the NBA, the proposed amendment would make it “nearly impossible” for the state to collect the millions of dollars in annual revenues that it brings in.
Louisiana is not the only state that is considering lifting the ban on sports betting. New York State Representative David Rivera introduced a bill to legalize sports betting in the Big Apple this month. The bill has already passed the state house and is waiting for a vote in the state senate. Similarly, Florida’s state legislature is debating a bill that would allow electronic companies to start offering sports betting options across the state. If passed, the law would open up the Florida market to sports betting companies from other states. Proponents of the bill claim that more people will start betting on Florida sports and games, and that the state will regain revenue that was previously lost due to the decline of the sports book industry.