Sports betting clears first hurdle in LA Senate committee

Updated: Apr. 23, 2019 at 3:35 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A New Orleans lawmaker opened up about her gambling addiction at a hearing Tuesday (April 23) on sports betting in Louisiana.

Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson voted against the sports betting bill, but argued in favor of proceeds being used to help those with gambling addictions.

After it was rejected last year, Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, took another stab at legalized sports betting before the Senate Judiciary B Committee.

“This industry is here, it’s underground, unregulated. State Police says there are 100 different sites you can go on to bet offshore,” said Martiny.

Martiny’s bill would allow sports betting at Harrah’s casino, 16 gambling boats, and four racetracks, generating an estimated $50 million a year.

But the measure was opposed by Carter-Peterson, D- New Orleans, who recently divulged a compulsive gambling addiction and spoke openly.

“It’s very one would have known Karen has a problem with compulsive gambling,” said Carter-Peterson.

Also speaking against the bill was Newman High School basketball coach and former LSU standout Randy Livingston. He said when he played in the NBA, he often gambled away his annual salary.

“I’m basically one of those 10 percent. I’ve lived my whole life, since 9, gambling,” he said.

Sports betting now exists in seven states, including Mississippi, and today even LSU’s new athletic director said it’s likely here to stay.

“Do we embrace it, as a fan experience? I don’t know what, but we may look at it,” said LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward at his first Baton Rouge news conference.

In the end, the sports betting bill was passed on to the full Senate.

The measure cleared Senate committee on a 3-1 vote.

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