NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Sports betting is a step closer to becoming legal in Louisiana. The State Senate approved a bill that would allow bets at Louisiana casinos and race tracks.
Senator Danny Martiny argues his sports betting bill will allow Louisiana to compete on an even playing field with Mississippi.
“The Mississippi Gulf Coast casinos are doing everything they can to lure Louisiana people over to the Biloxi area and one of the amenities that they offer is sports betting,” said Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie.
Martiny’s bill would allow sports betting at the state’s casinos and race tracks. And, it would also legalize mobile bets. But, the Republican Senator says his proposed legislation is more restrictive that what you will find in neighboring Mississippi casinos.
“Mississippi has mobile gaming in their casinos but what happens is they allow it anywhere on the premises,” said Martiny. “My bill will restrict it to where if you are going to do mobile gaming you either have to be on the gaming floor of the facility or somewhere off the premises where you have to be 21 years of age to be there.”
But, there are critics. Just last week, Senator Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans spoke in opposition of the measure. Carter Peterson recently divulged that she suffers from a compulsive gambling addiction.
“It’s very secretive...no one would have known Karen has a problem with compulsive gambling,” said Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans.
Martiny’s bill is expected to generate an estimated $50 million a year.
“This is an industry that is already operating at full speed here in Louisiana. It’s totally unregulated. We get all the ill of gaming and we got none of the benefits of the money,” said Martiny.
The sports betting bill now moves forward to the House. If all measures are approved, the bill would eventually be decided by Louisiana voters in each parish.