Louisiana will be the first to ask voters to approve sports betting at the local level instead of statewide. Most parishes, especially those with one or more of the state’s nearly two dozen casinos, will likely approve wagering, but lawmakers will still need to solve critical issues such as operator access and mobile wagering in 2021.
Here’s all that Louisiana voters should know about legal sports betting on the 2020 ballot.
What is the Louisiana Sports Betting Parish Measure?
Louisiana voters in all 64 parishes will see the following on their 2020 ballots:
Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of (individual parish name)?
The Louisiana constitution restricts certain forms of gambling, but allows parish-level voter referendums on specific gaming expansions if approved by a majority of both houses of the legislature and the governor. Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled legislature overwhelmingly supported the sports betting referendum and Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards approved it for the 2020 ballot.
The legislation behind the referendum did little to explain sports betting beyond placing it on the ballot and granting oversight to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which already regulates the state’s casinos. A “yes” vote means sports betting could be “permitted” within that parish; a “no” vote means there can be no legal “sports wagering activities” within parish lines.
When Would Sports Betting Begin?
In a best-case scenario, the first legal bet will