Online fantasy sports contests will be allowed in Louisiana after a vote this week paved the way for a state law to legalize the activity, effectively opening the door for operators DraftKings and FanDuel. However, with the door ajar, it is estimated that it could take at least one year before fantasy sports betting will be widely available throughout the state.
The ballot, which took place on Tuesday, saw 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes vote in favor of allowing fantasy sports competitions which will enable players in those 47 to compete with one another in a wide range of sports. There was little in the way of official opposition to the proposal.
Looking ahead, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the state’s legislature and fantasy sports stakeholders have been tasked by board chairman Ronnie Jones to formalize a framework of measures to get the proposals up and running.
At the very least, interested parties can anticipate a bill to be aired in the spring legislative session which will outline, among other things, what tax level is likely to be imposed on fantasy sports. Among the key objectives for the Gaming Control Board, in the meantime, will be establishing geo-fencing measures for players in the 47 parishes that voted yes.
The bottom line is that while Louisiana has pushed the start button on fantasy sports, the first commercial activity may not happen until the end of 2019. While that may seem like a long haul for stakeholders, it gives state policy makers plenty of time to get the legislation right.