Sports gambling now faces long odds for passage

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Sports gambling legalization is on life support as multiple attempts to approve the activity in the House, and a House Committee fell flat yesterday.

Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty says future attempts at legalization cannot get weighed down by the same burdensome restrictions that were placed on the bill in committee.

“The second highest tax rate in the nation, for a very limited form of gaming, combine that with having to use exclusive league data, which is not going to come for free, and you’ve run out of profitability for this business model.”

Duty initially backed the legalization attempt but pulled support after the legislation got loaded down with additions from a number of special interest groups.

If the clock runs out on legalization this year, it could be another two years before another attempt can be made. Duty says in the meantime the casino industry in Louisiana will bleed customers…

“It’s one more issue that makes us less than competitive. We already have a high tax rate, we already have limited marketability, and not being able to offer just moves us in the wrong direction.”

There were two attempts to revive the legalization push on the House floor, both of which came up short. Gretna Representative Joe Marino says the revenue generated by the activity would fund thousands of kid’s early childhood education subsidies.

“I’m committing to trying to get this passed so we can get money to early childhood education. Sports betting is going on all over our state right now, and we have an opportunity to tax and regulate it.”

But that claim led a visibly frustrated Metairie Representative Cameron Henry to hit back, saying just because you oppose gambling, doesn’t mean you’re against the kids.

“Everybody seems to think that the only way we can fund early childhood education is by somebody going to a casino and losing money. Just because you are against gambling doesn’t mean you are against early childhood education.”