NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Fantasy sports betting is now allowed in Southeast Louisiana parishes, but there’s still a lot that needs to be worked out before people can start betting.
Voters in 47 parishes legalized fantasy sports betting Tuesday (Nov. 6), including Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and more.
State Representative Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, introduced the bill, which allows people to play online fantasy sports games and gamble on third party websites.
Talbot said he didn’t draft it for the financial gains, predicting it will bring in less than $1 million in revenue.
"The amount of money that someone on average spends on fantasy sports is less than $500, so it's not a big wagering opportunity," Talbot said.
Senator Danny Martiny, a proponent of sports gambling, said he’s seen the mentality of voters change since the budget crisis.
“From ‘oh no, I’m against gambling,’ to ‘hey look, I don’t like gambling, I’m not gonna gamble, but if somebody else wants to do it, and in regulating it we can reduce the tax burden to our citizens, have at it,’” Martiny said.
Those against the passage said they’re focused on several things moving forward legislatively.
"That is to guarantee that minors are not allowed to gamble, that geo-fencing respects the parishes that have said no, and that we have a regulatory and tax structure that's commensurate with other methods of gambling," Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills said.
However, Martiny believes people are going to gamble regardless of the roadblocks, so the state may as well benefit from some of the revenue.
“It’s happening. Not only that, the gaming industry is one of the top revenue producers in the state, and it just seems like in the past, we’ve done everything we can to try to make them not successful. So this, I think, is a step in the right direction,” Martiny said.
Talbot said they will figure out how to regulate fantasy spots betting in the tax session this spring.
“We’ll either do a fee on the gross, or a flat fee, or a combination of the two. That’s what most states do a combination of a fee per service and then a percentage of the gross. We want to tax a reasonable rate, we don’t want to tax them too little or too more,” Talbot said.
Talbot said people can expect to start gambling online for the fall 2019 football season.