New online gambling bill surfaces in Louisiana

News on 5 Mar 2018

Louisiana state Sen.Daniel Martiny has introduced bill S322 to the Louisiana Senate, hot on the heels of earlier bills launched in the Legislature seeking to legalise daily fantasy sports and sports betting, should federal law changes permit this.

Early reports indicate that a state-wide mandate is not being sought, but a novel approach taken in which individual parishes will be offered the opportunity to enter the online gambling sector should their voters opt for this via a referendum, voting on the straightforward question:

Shall internet gaming be allowed to be conducted within the parish of ______?

Due to the referendum strategy, implementation would probably take at least two years according to analysts, working with the bill’s effective proposed date of January 1 2020.

The bill contains provisions setting a minimum gambling age of 21 years and restricting action outside the borders of Louisiana under the supervision of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and gaming division of the office of state police. These bodies are tasked with drawing up the necessary regulations, ensuring that licenses are restricted to existing riverboat and land-based casinos.

Notably absent from the initial draft are tax rate and fees recommendations, leaving the door open to debate on these issues.

S322 defines internet gaming as including:

“Any variation or composite of an authorized game that is offered through the internet, provided that such games, or variations or composites, are found suitable for use by the board and any other game which is determined to be suitable by the board. The term includes gaming tournaments conducted via the internet in which players compete against one another in one or more games authorized by the board or in approved variations or composites thereof if the tournament is authorized by the board.”

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