Legal sports betting is on its way to Louisiana as the state’s Senate committee advanced a bill that would regulate this form of gambling. Parish support for this initiative was established in Governor Edwards’ November 2020 referendum on the matter.

If it passes, the bill will determine the rules and tax rates for sports wagering in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. And that’s not all: On Monday, another bill sponsored by Republican Party Rep. John Stefanski passed the House of Representatives. It calls for an 18% tax on net mobile betting proceeds and 10% on the net proceeds for on-premise sports wagering. Both bills await a Senate debate by the end of the month.

Republican Reps. are the biggest proponents of these bills: Rep. Stefanski is working on the bill with House Speaker Clay Schexnayder in the hope to pass the legislation through both chambers by June 10 this year.

If the first bill passes, riverboat and loan-based casinos, as well as horse tracks, would be able to launch retail sportsbooks or operate on mobile platforms. The residents would then be able to place bets at physical venues or via smartphone, provided they’re 21 or older.

However, how fast these changes would be implemented is still unknown, as the bill only outlines the legislative basis for this new industry. For example, the voters approved daily fantasy sports back in 2018, but the first matches have yet to be played, let alone be bet on.

Nonetheless, at least theoretically, once this latest betting legislation passes, Louisiana’s 20 brick-and-mortar gaming facilities could make a deal with two sportsbooks and bring up to 40 online betting platforms to Louisiana. Even the state lottery could get a license to kickstart a digital sportsbook.

The topic is somewhat controversial for many lawmakers: Problem gambling is on the rise, and if online casinos bring more opportunities, this mental health issue could become much more prominent.