Sports betting permits could cost just $1,100 for Louisiana bars

House bill would set much higher fees for casinos

By: - April 21, 2021 3:09 pm
Sports betting bill clears committee

New Orleans is requiring either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to participate in certain indoor activities, including attendance at Saints games. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect that the taxes proposed by HB697 will be applied to the net gaming proceeds of facilities, websites and mobile apps.

A bill to levy fees and taxes on sports betting cleared an early hurdle Wednesday with unanimous approval from the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee.

House Bill 697, sponsored by Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, would establish licensing rules, fees and taxes regarding sports wagering. Louisiana voters in 55 parishes voted last year to approve legalized sports betting in their individual parishes. When lawmakers crafted the amendment that gave voters the ability to choose, they included two major requirements: (1) Sports betting had to be regulated, and (2) it had to be taxed, Stefanski said.

While Stefanski’s bill handles taxation, Senate President Patrick Cortez, R-Lafayette, has a companion bill focusing on regulation. Cortez’s bill, as of Wednesday, would offer 20 licenses to land-based casinos, river boat casinos and race tracks. It would also offer mobile-app licenses to those gambling facilities.

Stefanski’s bill would establish fees to go along with those licenses.

To get an operator’s license, casinos and race tracks would have to pay an initial application fee of $250,000 plus a $500,000 license fee that would last for five years, although other types of licenses with varying fee amounts would also be available. 

The bill would also license the Louisiana Lottery Corporation to offer sports wagering.

“The purpose of allowing the Louisiana Lottery to participate is we see that as a way for your local businesses, bars, restaurants to be able to participate in this process,” Stefanski said.

The Louisiana Lottery Corporation would have its own rules and permits to offer to local businesses that want to participate in sports betting. An initial application fee for such retailers would be $1,000 plus a $100 annual permit fee.

The state would collect a 10% tax on the net gaming proceeds of any physical facility (casino or retailer) and an 18% tax on the net gaming proceeds from a website or mobile app. Stefanski said the facility tax rate is slightly lower than those of other states while the mobile rate is slightly higher. 

The fees would go into a fund to cover the regulation expenses by the state police, state attorney general’s office and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The taxes collected through casinos would go into the general fund, while those collected through the Lottery Corporation would go into a fund to benefit developmentally disabled children and K-12 education, Stefanski said. 

The bill will next be considered for a vote on the House floor.


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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi.