Louisiana will not be the next state to legalize sports betting in 2019 after a House committee rejected a sports betting bill on Tuesday.
The sports betting bill titled, SB 153, received several amendments at a hearing on Tuesday which led to the bill being rejected by the House Appropriations Committee.
Members of the committee voted 16-5 to keep the bill in committee and then voted 14-6 to involuntarily defer the bill, essentially killing it.
If lawmakers wish to reconsider the bill it will require a vote of at least two thirds.
It’s important to note that SB 153 wouldn’t have legalized sports betting on its own. The bill would have Instead created a ballot question that could have allowed voters in the state to decide whether to legalize sports betting.
What amendments were made to the bill?
Despite making considerable progress in the Senate in recent weeks, three sets of amendments to the bill were considered, two of which were adopted on Tuesday.
The first amendment to be adopted was a mandatory requirement for operators to use official league data. This amendment clearly came from the major sports leagues that have been trying to capitalize on the spread of legal sports betting.
Representative Jack McFarland pitched the amendment in order to “address some concerns” of the major sports leagues. McFarland said: “We want the statistics and data for each game to come from the official sports organization which is participating. Not from a third party.”
This will allow the major sports leagues to monetize their official league data and grant them a level of control over sports betting in Louisiana.
Interestingly, Tennessee legalized sports betting last week with a provision that called for the use of official league data for in-play wagering. It still remains to be seen what kind of real-world impact this will have on sports betting in the state.
The second amendment would have allowed the state’s 2,800 video poker parlors to offer sports betting. Each of the venues would need to be licensed and regulated by the state regulator.
A representative from the Louisiana Gaming Commission said that this measure would put too much of a strain on the state police who are responsible for enforcing gambling laws in the Pelican State.
Wade Duty, Executive Director of the Louisiana Casino Association said: “You would be asking us to pay the second-highest tax in the nation (for non lottery-run sports betting) for the worst product in the nation.
“With the amendments loaded onto this bill, it is untenable. You have now put enough baggage on the plane it will not get airborne.”
Martiny’s second attempt to legalize sports betting in Louisiana
This was the second consecutive legislative session where Martiny sponsored sports betting legislation in an attempt to level the playing field with Mississippi.
At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, Martiny said: “My understanding is that I’m here to address a fiscal note that came about as a result of some civil penalties that were put in there.”
Once it became clear that the bill was being filled with off-putting amendments, Martiny said: “I want to believe that the amendments that were thrown in were well-intentioned. But if the purpose of what you want to do here is kill the bill, leave it in the same posture.”
In his closing statement, Martiny said: “This has become an expansion and that was never my intention.”
With just a week left in Louisiana’s legislative session, it appears unlikely that the Pelican State will legalize sports betting in 2019.
Tuesday’s committee hearing can be viewed in its entirety here.
In other news, SugarHouse Casino has begun testing its mobile sports betting app in Pennsylvania.