Last week, a committee within Louisiana’s state Senate voted 3-1 to send Senate Bill 153 to a vote within the greater congregation. This Tuesday, the bill was finally voted on by the Senate. The bill was approved by a vote of 24-15, which now sends the legislation along to the Louisiana House.
Louisiana’s Senate is primarily Republican, but none of the 15 members that voted against the bill spoke up in opposition. Louisiana’s House is more conservative than the Senate, which may prove tricky for the passing of SB 153.
The bill certainly is more likely to experience some controversy within the House, but if it is ultimately approved, Louisiana’s Governor, John Bel Edwards, does ultimately support any efforts to legalize sports betting.
The primary concern behind any opposition to legalizing sports betting within Louisiana is the effect it would have on gambling addiction. While it is true that sports betting might not help those that already suffer with an addiction to gambling, it cannot be said that legalizing sports betting will cause gambling addiction.
At this point, Louisiana might not necessarily have a choice when it comes to legalization. The neighboring state of Mississippi does in fact offer legal sports betting. Not only does Mississippi offer sports betting, but it is actually flourishing in the region.
During the ever-popular March Madness NCAA Tournament, casinos in Mississippi offering sports betting saw a monthly revenue boost of 13% in March netting a monthly revenue total of $124 million. That’s fairly staggering when you consider that there are only 12 casinos accepting sports wagers in Mississippi.
Considering that a neighboring state is thriving behind legalized sports betting despite having their own issues with gambling addiction, Louisiana needs to find a way to capitalize on that lost revenue. Senator Danny Martiny has been a major supporter of Senate Bill 153, and has projected that legalizing sports betting could earn the state of Louisiana upwards of $60 million in annual tax revenue, although a lower estimate of $30 million may be more appropriate.
Louisiana certainly still has discussion to do to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting, but if they continue to delay, Mississippi will continue to cash in on potential tax revenue that could be going to them. Louisiana’s House will be on the clock next.