State lawmakers begin debating taxes, fees for fantasy sports betting

State lawmakers begin debating taxes, fees for fantasy sports betting

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A state lawmaker wants to make sure that once fantasy sports betting begins in parts of Louisiana, early childhood education benefits from the online gaming.

With the state legislative session in its second week at the state capitol, the House Ways and Means Committee agreed to send House Bill 495 by Rep. Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans) to the full House for consideration.

Abramson’s legislation sets an 8 percent state tax on net gaming proceeds of fantasy sports betting, and an annual fee for licenses, or permits at $5,000.

"This is actually to generate some revenue off of it like all other states do,” said Abramson to the committee.

Last November, voters in 47 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to allow fantasy sports betting in their communities.

Abramson says it is an opportunity to increase funds for early childhood education in the state.

"Early childhood education has been a priority of I believe everybody but because of our financing situation we have not been able to get the finances to that critical priority. This will be a new revenue source, so it’s not taking money from any other place,” Abramson stated.

The video poker industry thinks the proposed tax for fantasy sports betting is low compared to what it remits to the state.

"My clients who live in this state, who live in your districts, who vote for you, who support you, they pay either 26 and a half or 32 and a half percent in taxes,” said Alton Ashy, CEO of the Louisiana Video Poker Association.

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