Too many hands out, sports betting fails in Louisiana


The effort to legalize sports betting in Louisiana appears to be dead for this legislative session.  

As more hands went out to get in on the action, opposition built against the bill.

The measure was originally written to allow sports betting inside the state's licensed casinos and horse race tracks.

It passed through the state Senate, but got hung up today when it went before the House Committee on Appropriations.

Lawmakers tried to add amendments to get some money for horseman and to allow sports betting at hundreds of video poker outlets around the state.

That led to the casinos opposing the amended legislation.

"With the amendments that have been loaded onto this bill, it is untenable. You have now put enough baggage on the plane, it will not get airborne," Wade Duty with the Louisiana Casino Association told the committee. "It's so fractionalized now with the amendments... additional taxes imposed for the horsemen interests and the expansion to 2,800 locations through video poker."

Some religious leaders also opposed the bill.

That left the legislation's author, Senator Danny Martiny with few answers.

"My intention was always to pass a bill out of here which allowed us to deal with the competition," he told the committee. 

Martiny said with sports betting legal in Mississippi and Arkansas, along with offshore operations and illegal bookies, Louisiana is losing out on a real opportunity.  

"My intention is very simple... to allow us to compete on a level playing field and get some money for early childhood development."

The committee then overwhelmingly defeated the bill by a vote of 15 to 6.

While there are some legislative mechanisms that could revive the measure, it would be unusual for that to happen.