Louisiana Wins Unveiling Pro-Sports Betting Push During Saints Game

Posted on: September 12, 2020, 04:39h. 

Last updated on: September 12, 2020, 05:58h.

Louisiana Wins, an advocacy group supporting the legalization of sports wagering in the Pelican State, will run a commercial during Sunday’s New Orleans Saints/Tampa Bay Buccaneers game urging voters to get behind sports betting.

Louisiana polling place
Voters seen at a Louisiana polling site during presidential primaries earlier this year. An advocacy group is running a commercial urging support for sports betting. (Image: Getty Images)

In June, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) signed into law Senate Bill 130, which was authored Republican Sen. Cameron Henry. That legislation gives voters the chance to mull sports betting on a parish-by-parish basis on Nov. 3. What that means is that as long as a majority of voters in any of Louisiana’s 64 parishes — the state’s equivalent of counties — approve sports betting, it will be authorized in that area.

Using a 2018 vote on daily fantasy sports (DFS), in which 47 parishes said “yes” as a template, it’s widely expected the Pelican State will join the legal sports betting fray later this year. State political observers are forecasting easy passage of the sports wagering ballot question in Louisiana’s major population centers, with resistance coming in smaller regions with heavy concentrations of Evangelical Christians.

The commercial being aired by Louisiana Wins, which can be seen below, is the organization’s first. It’s not clear if the group will continue television advertising during upcoming Saints games, or when LSU kicks off its season on Sept. 26. The first legitimate bet won’t be placed in the state until next year, because policymakers must use the 2021 legislative session to debate and set sports betting tax policy.

Same Old Song

Those supporting sports wagering in the Pelican State, including Louisiana Wins, use a familiar refrain: Raising cash for infrastructure and public education. Additionally, because some states that border Louisiana already permit sports betting, proponents say their state is losing revenue to its neighbors.

We are losing as much as $330 million of revenue, even as our residents cross the border to Arkansas and Mississippi for legalized sports betting there. It’s time we kept revenues closer to home,” according to Louisiana Wins.

The aforementioned SB 130 provides for electronic wagering, but only on the premises of a gaming property. It’s a similar methodology to what’s currently used in Mississippi. Assuming parishes approve sports wagering, gamblers will be able to have action on college games, something that’s not a given in every state considering the issue.

Compelling Opportunity

Louisiana is the fifth-largest gaming market in the US. The state is home to roughly 20 casinos, the bulk of which are commercially operated riverboats, a pair of which are coming ashore next year. Currently, land-based venues in the state consist of a trio of tribal casinos and Harrah’s New Orleans.

Under SB 130, all operators will be eligible to apply for sports betting permits. Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming are among the largest commercial entities in the Pelican State. Accounting for a pair of pending sales, Caesars will run a quartet of Louisiana venues, while Penn manages five casinos there.

From a sports betting perspective, Louisiana is alluring for another reason. It borders Texas, where sports betting isn’t legal. Additionally, the Lone Star state is a prime driver of Louisiana’s tourism industry, and the major population centers of Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are driveable to many Pelican State gaming properties.