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The long wait for fantasy sports gambling games, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, seems to be over in Louisiana. They are now closer to attain legal status in the state.
The full Senate is likely to vote in favour of the legislation that would allow voters to decide this fall whether smartphone gambling apps should be legal in Louisiana. The House okayed the proposal last month, and Senate Judiciary B Committee voted 4–1 Tuesday (May 1) to advance the bill.
Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, was the single vote against the legislation on the Senate committee. She did not explain her vote. The Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative Christian organisation, opposed the bill, but did not speak at the committee hearing.
House Bill 484, authored by Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, would allow each parish to approve fantasy sports gambling through a November ballot initiative. If a parish voted against it, people could not legally play the games on their smartphones or computers while in that community. Online fantasy sports gambling is already legal in 19 states, according to industry reports.
Even if parishes approve fantasy sports gambling, Talbot said additional legislation will be needed in 2019 to figure out how to regulate and tax the games. The state’s Gaming Control Board would also have to come up with rules for how fantasy sports apps would be allowed to operate in Louisiana – one step in a fairly lengthy process towards legalisation.
Talbot has pitched online fantasy sports as a way to raise money for Louisiana without increasing traditional taxes, but his legislation does not deal with what fees or taxes fantasy sports entities might pay the state. All other forms of legal gambling in the state are taxed at relatively high rates.
Most gambling revenue is also typically dedicated to a specific purpose, such as education. It is uncertain where money raised from fantasy sports would go, if anywhere specific.
Louisiana law remains silent on whether traditional fantasy sport leagues, played among friends and coworkers, are legal. Talbot’s bill won’t make those types of games legitimate.
DraftKings, FanDuel and other smartphone apps mostly offer daily fantasy sports games played against strangers, rather than season-long leagues. The apps enable fans to play multiple games and spend money more easily than traditional fantasy sports setups.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events