Sports betting still not legal in La. as Super Bowl weekend approaches

Sports betting still not legal in La. as Super Bowl weekend approaches
Sports betting is not currently legal in the State of Louisiana. (Source: WAFB)

(WAFB) - The San Francisco 49ers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV.

However, if you’re looking to bet on that game, you’re going to have to head to Mississippi or another state.

Sports betting is technically against the law in Louisiana. In 2019, it was close to finally becoming legal, but a committee in the House voted it down.

Wayne Gray loves to gamble at the casinos in Port Allen.

"I do it every day, been doing it for 30 years," said Gray.

Gray stays on the machines at the casinos, but says he'd be interested in betting on sports games, like the upcoming Super Bowl, if it was legal in our state.

“Oh yes, I would be. Why not? I’m gambling now,” said Gray.

According to the American Gaming Association, Louisiana is 1 of 16 states without legal sports betting.

Lawmaker shot down former Senator Danny Martiny’s bill back in May of 2019, after it was changed to allow sports betting anywhere there is a video poker machine.

"I think when you already have the opposition that was there about the sports betting in general, and then you add to it more complications, the more complications you make it, it makes it easier for people to not vote for it," said State Representative Joseph Marino (I), back in May of 2019.

Many folks believe that because sports betting isn’t legal, it creates a black market of sorts. But, if it were allowed, it would generate a ton of revenue for the state.

“I know a guy, he would spend 80, 90 grand a week. It’d either be on sports betting, or it would be at the casino, or just about anything,” said Ryan Murphy, who says he likes to gamble.

If Martiny's bill would've passed, potentially millions of dollars of revenue could have gone towards expanding early childhood education.

“I wouldn’t [sports gamble]. I think it leaves too much of a chance, but I know several people who do bet on it now with a lot of money, but it’d be pretty big I think, a lot of tax revenue for the state,” said Murphy.

Some lawmakers also believe if sports betting were legal, it could lead to bankruptcy and addiction for some Louisianians.

Two nearby states where sports betting is legal are Mississippi and Arkansas.

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