Bill to restrict where residents can bet on fantasy sports passes committee

Cover Image
Photo credit Scott Olson/Getty Images

A bill to regulate where Louisiana residents can place wagers on online fantasy sports sites like Draft Kings and FanDuel is headed to the House floor.

Voters of 47 parishes approved fantasy sports betting last fall. A bill to regulate that activity was amended in committee to allow play only if it's in an establishment that IDs patrons for 21-or-over, like video poker truck stops, bars, or casinos.

The online fantasy sports business is crying foul.

"This is obviously not what people voted for, this is not how fantasy sports works, this is not how online entertainment works anywhere, for any medium," said  Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana spokesperson Ryan Berni. Berni said the bill is an end-run around the will of the voters.

The video poker industry is lobbying for the bill. Video poker lobbyist Alton Ashy said local businesses should benefit from the bill, and said the tax collection from online fantasy sports would be so low that the only way for the state to benefit would be to drive consumer traffic into established businesses that have gambling.

"Right now the proposed tax rate does not cover the cost for the state to collect it," said Ashy "The state actually loses money at the proposed tax rate that they are proposing on fantasy sports."

Berni said it sounds more like one established gambling industry wants to kill what it sees as potential competition.

"Obviously the intention is that it is places that have video poker," Berni said. "It really is an end around and a subversion of what people know and like about fantasy sports."

The legislation is set to come up on the House floor this Tuesday.