The Louisiana State Legislature has approved the legislation establishing a licensing framework for retail and online sports betting.

The legislation is one of two bills passed to facilitate retail and online sports betting in Louisiana. The other bill, which imposes a 10% tax on proceeds from in-person sports betting and a 15% tax on net proceeds from online sports betting, was signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 4. Governor Edwards is expected to sign the licensing bill in the coming days.

According to the legislation, sports betting will be governed by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (the Board). The Board will be authorized to issue up to 20 sportsbook operator licenses, which will allow licensees to offer retail and online sports wagering. The Board will initially make operator licenses available to (i) Harrah’s New Orleans, the state’s sole land-based casino; (ii) the state’s fifteen licensed riverboat casinos; and (iii) the state’s four racinos (provided they first obtain approval from the Louisiana State Racing Commission). If one or more of these organizations decide not to pursue a license or fail to apply before the Board-imposed deadline, the Board will open up the application process to the state’s licensed video poker establishments and fantasy sports contest operators.

If the number of “second round” applicants exceeds the number of remaining licenses, the Board will initiate a concealed bidding process, ranking applicants based on their potential to generate the greatest amount of revenue for the state. Factors the Board will consider include, among other things, (i) adequacy of applicant’s capitalization; (ii) applicant’s financial history; (iii) applicant’s history of compliance or non-compliance with licensing or regulatory obligations in Louisiana or any other state; and (iv) nature of any litigation pending against the applicant.

The Board will also issue a separate sportsbook license to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, which will allow the Lottery to offer mobile betting through electronic kiosks placed in bars, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.

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