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Sports Wagering Approved in 55 Parishes. Now What?

Now that sports wagering has been approved in the majority of Louisiana's parishes, when can people in those parishes expect to be able to bet on sports, and what may that look like?

Posted: Nov 9, 2020 9:56 AM
Updated: Nov 9, 2020 10:10 AM

LAFAYETTE - On tuesday 55 out of 64 Louisiana parishes approved sports wagering. But that doesn't mean that it's available right away, or even in the near future.

"The people of Lafayette voted for freedom, and that's basically what is is," says Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, "Look that's your money. You should be able to do what you want with it."

Not just Lafayette, but most parishes in the state said "YES" to sports wagering. It's an activity that you're seeing in more and more states since the ban on sports wagering was repealed in 2018 by the Supreme Court.

"Sports betting is something that's happening in your state whether it's legal or not," explains Matthew Waters, a writer for Legal Sports Report, "There are off-shore operators that are taking these bets, and it's been a matter of time before the states legalize it and finally realize that, you know, 'We better do this and get a piece of it at least.'"

But how does the state maximize the money it can make from taxes it imposes on wagering?

Says Waters, "People in Louisiana want to see, for the most tax revenue, they want to see mobile sports betting. They want to see a good amount of licenses. That's what's really going to make a difference for the state."

For parishes like Lafayette where this is no place to gamble, mobile betting may be the only option, or it could be limited to a sports book type bar, a place where you could grab a drink and some grub, put on your favorite game and place a bet on your phone.

Adds Guillory, "Next year in the 2021 session - the regular session - I would imagine our legislature will give us that answer. But there's a wide range of possibilities there."

But there are fears that legal sports betting will lead to an increase in addiction. It's something Mayor-President Guillory hopes will be addressed in session.

"I'm really looking forward to working with our Lafayette delegation in baton rouge to maybe see some ways that we could proactively use some fundings to help with gambling addition," says the Mayor-President.

The clock officially starts with the ball now in the legislature's court.

Officials with the Louisiana Control Board believe the operation of sports wagering in parishes in which it was approved won't be available until early 2022.

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