Mobile app sports betting starts Friday in Louisiana; will it be a tax revenue win?
A FanDuel advertisement is seen as the New Orleans Saints take the field against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on November 15, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Sports betting on smartphones will be available in Louisiana ahead of this weekend’s NFL conference championships in the 55 parishes that have approved it. Ronnie Johns, chairman of the state’s Gaming Control Board, told The Advertiser the mobile applications can go live at 8 a.m. Friday.
Voters around the state were given the choice to allow betting by smartphones within their respective parishes. Only nine rejected the proposal. The bettor must physically place their smartphone bet in one of the parishes where it is allowed; the apps will not in parishes that don’t allow it.
In-person sports wagers became legal in Louisiana in October.
Sports betting operations pay taxes on the money they make after winners are paid. For mobile and online betting, the tax rate is 15%. Casino earnings on in-person sports wagers are taxed at 10%, by comparison.
Projections on how much tax revenue mobile sports betting will generate for Louisiana have not been definitive, in part because the timeline for the apps to go live has been somewhat of a moving target. A bigger factor has been the pandemic’s impact on the economy, which has in turn affected what’s being spent on gambling.
The first revenue report from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board showed the eight casinos with sports books handled $27.6 million in wagers for the month of November. Only three of the facilities – Caesar’s New Orleans, Horseshoe Bossier City and Boomtown Harvey – took sports bets for the entire month.
The state’s casinos netted $5.68 million from sports betting for the month and paid 10% of that amount in taxes.
Sports betting in all forms is forecast to create $30 million in new tax revenue annually for the state, according to legislative fiscal office projections. A quarter of that money is reserved early childhood education, with a $20 million ceiling. Local government will receive up to 10%, and as much as $500,000 is set aside for compulsive gambling programs.
Casinos have established smartphone betting apps already on the market – Caesars, BetRivers and MGM, for example – and have been advertising heavily to future betters in Louisiana. The Louisiana Lottery and horse racing venues around the state are expected to offer their own versions.
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