Louisiana Parishes To Vote On Daily Fantasy Sports
In Louisiana, an advocacy group called Fairness for Fantasy Sports claims it was created by residents to educate voters on the importance of taxing and regulating daily fantasy sports in the state. But financial disclosures indicated DFS operator FanDuel gave $154,000 to the group; the only other donation was $250 from the political consultant who manages it.
FanDuel is promoting DFS ahead of the November 6 election since referendums in every parish will determine if voters want to allow daily fantasy sports. The referendums are the result of House Bill 484, sponsored by state Rep. Kirk Talbot. It was one of three gaming bills passed during the latest legislative session and signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in May.
The measure would classify DFS as a game of skill, give oversight to the state gaming control board and allow contests based on professional and amateur events. It states, “If a majority of the qualified electors in the parish voting on the proposition vote for the proposition, then fantasy sports contests shall be permitted, subject to the enactment of licensing, regulation and taxation.”
As a result, DFS could become legal in some parts of Louisiana and not in others. If just one parish votes to legalize DFS, a new bill must be introduced in the legislature to determine tax rates, licensing fees and geofencing restrictions to make sure bettors are within parish limits.
Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones said geofencing will be the most complex issue regarding DFS. “There are 64 parishes in Louisiana. Say only a quarter of them vote yes on the referendum. Can you imagine how complicated that will be to carve out individual parishes? Nobody is talking about what it might cost to implement geofencing.”
Jones said he expects Talbot to introduce a companion bill next year to establish tax rates and additional fees.
Other gaming bills that passed in the last session include Senate Bill 316, which will allow Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos to move ashore; and Senate Bill 184, which will ease restrictions for truck stops that qualify for video poker machines.
Jones said sports betting will be a major issue in 2019, especially since neighboring Mississippi is the only state in the South with legal sports betting. “People in southeast Louisiana are headed to the coast every weekend,” Jones said.
On October 24, sports betting will be among the topics discussed at a Senate hearing.