On Wednesday, Louisiana lawmakers approved regulations governing fantasy sports betting in the 47 parishes that supported it two years ago.
In November 2018, voters in most parishes nodded in favor of legalizing fantasy sports betting in the Sugar State. The state lawmakers have since been working on the regulatory process. After the unanimous backing in Senate and House Committees of the rules devised by the Louisiana Gaming Control board, the next process would be to approve the operators to launch the competition for the online cash.
In fantasy sports, players create imaginary teams of real-life sports players and score points based on the players’ performance in actual games. Fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel charge an entry fee, offering payouts to winners.
Voters in almost three-quarters of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved in the November 2018 election to allow fantasy sports betting. Among other regulations, participants in the competitions have to be at least 21. Also, the imaginary teams are not allowed to involve participants in high school or youth sports competitions. Furthermore, there are considerable audit and reporting requirements. Participants will have to register to participate in the betting. Though fantasy sports betting is allowed in those 47 parishes where voters authorized it, anybody can access the online sites if they are physically present in those parishes.
Why Did Louisiana Fantasy Sports Miss its NFL Target?
The initial plan was to launch fantasy sports in Louisiana before the NFL season. However, the legal complexities of the state law regarding the different parishes made it exceedingly impossible both for lawmakers and sportsbook operators to meet the desired deadline. KSLA 12 News claimed the new timeline for fantasy football could be before the fall NFL season next year.
If there’s any authority to be blamed for the extreme delay in launching daily fantasy sports single-handedly, it is the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The LGCB is the regulator responsible for all the rules, regulations, and laws regarding daily fantasy sports. According to the terms of the regulation process, the Sugar State has levied an 8% tax on fantasy sports, and the revenue generated from this source is designated to reimburse toward early childhood education system in Louisiana.
Sports Betting Prospects in Louisiana
Louisiana voters legalized sports betting in 55 out of the 64 parishes in the state during last month’s election. The result seemed to set the stage for predominant support for the industry in the state, paving the way for the LGCB to launch the industry any time in the foreseeable future.
However, sports betting involves a far complicated legal process than daily fantasy sports. The former involves a far greater amount of money, plus there are many more rules and regulations involved in sports betting. Many experts and bettors in Louisiana are concerned about the future of the sports betting industry since the far straightforward DFS has been taking more time in launching.
The state lawmakers and its regulatory hand LGCB will take up the sports betting process, besides taking up the DFS licensing approval process, in the spring legislative session. It will be interesting to see if the interest groups are able to force the lawmakers to speed up the regulation process. Besides the external pressures, lawmakers have an internal matter that is even more important: finding the potential revenue sources to bridge the budget deficit.