It still has a long way to go, but Louisiana residents are a step closer to legalized sports gambling after Tuesday.
The Louisiana House criminal justice committee passed the bill, Senate Bill 153 (SB 153) sponsored by Senator Danny Martiny, by an 11-6 vote. There was expected to be some opposition to the vote from anti-gambling lawmakers, much like there was in the Senate (which passed the proposal 24-15). But after some language that might have derailed the vote was removed, the bill passed through committee.
The bill, which has the backing of Governor John Bel Edwards, would allow betting on college, international, Olympic, and professional events at any of the 16 casinos and four racetracks in the state.
Now that the bill has left the first committee, it may have to be reviewed by the House budget committee. It may then head to the House floor.
If the bill is passed, it would still have to be voted on by voters of each individual parish in the state that has a casino and/or racetrack. Each parish would have to decide whether or not to allow sports betting.
While there are other bills in the works around the country, there are currently 12 states that have some form of sports betting, with the District of Columbia allowing it as well. Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, and D.C. all passed laws in May of 2019.