BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to the taxing rate for fantasy sports betting, edging the state closer to starting the competitions for online cash prizes in 47 parishes where voters agreed to legalize the activity.
The measure by Rep. John Stefanski, a Crowley Republican, imposes an 8% tax on the activity, with the dollars generated earmarked for early childhood education programs. A financial analysis suggests Louisiana could expect to collect a few hundred thousand dollars a year from the taxes.
The House voted 82-11 for the tax bill in the ongoing special session, and the Senate sent it to the governor with a 36-0 vote Tuesday. In the regular session earlier this year, lawmakers set the regulations needed before betting can begin.
In fantasy sports, people create imaginary teams of real-life sports players and score points based on how those players perform in actual games. Websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel charge an entry fee and offer payouts to winners.
Voters in three-quarters of Louisiana parishes agreed in the November 2018 election to legalize fantasy sports betting in their parishes. But the activity hasn’t yet started because the required rules and tax rates had to be set. Legislative action should allow the betting to begin soon, when the Louisiana Gaming Control Board starts licensing operators of fantasy sports contests.
The tax will be charged on the net revenues of fantasy sports operators in the state – taxing the total entry fees collected from participants in the competitions minus the winnings paid out.
Participants in the competitions for cash prizes have to be at least 21 years old. The imaginary teams can’t involve participants in high school or youth sports events.
House Bill 64: www.legis.la.gov
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.