The author of the bill that set tax rates for DFS in Louisiana said the games won’t launch in the state until November, at the earliest.
Gaming Control Board Slows Up Process
“I was hopeful we would see fantasy sports go live in October, however, I was just informed that the Gaming Control Board is taking longer than we expected,” Rep. John Stefanski said. “The Gaming Control Board has oversight of all gambling, and that includes fantasy sports. We have been pressuring them to move as quickly as possible, but so far to no avail.”
The Louisiana Legislature acted quickly earlier this year to get DFS set up in the state, but the gears have begun to grind slowly. In May, the Legislature passed House Bill 357 that specifically legalized DFS cash contests and set rules such as requiring players to be 21, and requiring operators to apply for licenses with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. A few weeks later, lawmakers passed Stefanski’s HB 64, which set the state’s tax rate for DFS revenue at 8%, and designated the money for early childhood education in Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed both bills.
As OnlineGambling previously reported, the 8% tax rate puts Louisiana in the middle compared to other states. Some charge licensing fees and no tax, while others charge a tax and no license fees. Some charge both. New York and Pennsylvania implemented tax rates of 15% of revenue generated within their borders, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported.
Experts say DFS in Louisiana should raise about $375,000 in tax revenue annually.
Rules Must Be Published Before Games are Legal
The proposed DFS rules were published in the Louisiana Register in August, and public comments on them are due Thursday. The Legislative Oversight Committee will then take up to 30 days to review the comments and hold a hearing on the rules. The Gaming Control Board must then adopt the rules and publish them in the state register before DFS contests can be held.
Forty-seven of the state’s 64 parishes approved DFS in 2018, but the games can’t be implemented yet because the Legislature hasn’t been able to establish the regulations. Former Sen. Danny Martiny filibustered the end of the 2019 legislative session as lawmakers tried to establish tax rates and regulations because he was upset his sports betting bill wasn’t passed, The Center Square reported.
Per state law, only residents of the 47 parishes that voted for legal DFS will be able to participate. Residents in the other 17 parishes will be barred from the games.
Louisiana residents may also be able to bet on sports games within the next year. Edwards previously signed legislation passed by lawmakers during the 2020 session that would let voters decide in November whether to allow sports betting in their parishes. If some parishes vote to legalize sports betting, as expected, legislators will take up the issue of taxes and regulations in 2021.