Next Up: Legal Sports Betting In Wyoming And Louisiana
The number of U.S. states that have legalized sports betting (retail and or mobile) is growing every month. As of the beginning of July 2021, 27 states have approved some form of sports betting. Another six or so states are getting close to passing the needed legislation.
Two of the most recent entrants into the sports betting industry are Wyoming and Louisiana. Since each state takes a different approach towards allowing its residents to wager on sports, let’s take a look at the sports betting laws in the two aforementioned states.
Legal Sports Betting in Wyoming
In April of 2021, Wyoming joined the ranks of states that had legalized sports betting for its residents. Sports betting became legal in the state when Gov. Mark Gordon’s put his signature on HB 133. Note: Prior to the signing of this bill, Wyoming’s Indian community was already accepting sports bets through their gambling facilities. With the passing of HB 133, the Tribes see this as unwanted competition.
Under the terms of HB 133, Wyoming’s sports betting industry will be regulated by the Wyoming Gaming Commission. The Commission has been authorized to issue at least five sports betting operator licenses. The licenses only authorize operators to offer online/mobile sports betting options.
In order to qualify for a sports betting operator’s license in Wyoming, applicants must already be offering online sports betting access in at least three other states. While that eliminates some of the smaller U.S.operators, top online providers like DraftKings, Fanduel, William Hill, BetMGM, and BetRivers are certainly going to be in the mix.
To date, the state’s sports betting rules have not yet been set in stone. Gov. Gordon approve a proposed set of rules and regulations on June 9, 2021. However, the public has 45 days to view the proposed rules and regulations and make comments based on state law. Assuming nothing major pops up, the sports betting infrastructure in Wyoming should be set by the end of July. At that point, license applications should start rolling in for quick approval.
Legal Sports Betting in Louisiana
In the November 2020 election, residents in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes said yes to the legalization of sports betting. Based on Louisiana law, each parish is permitted to decide on this issue independently. The results of the election provided the motivation for the Louisiana state legislature to start drafting sports betting legislation.
After going through several iterations, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) finally signed two sports betting bills into law on June 22, 2021. The bills include SB 247, which provides the state’s regulatory sports betting legislation, and SB 142, which dictates how sports betting tax revenue will be distributed.
Under the terms set forth by SB 247 (passed by a 33-3 Senate vote), residents in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes will have access to both retail and online sports betting. The bill also authorized the building of one retail casino in New Orleans. The law permits the issuing of 20 sports betting licenses. Fifteen of them will be allocated to retail casinos with the state’s four racetracks getting a license and the 20th license going to the Louisiana State Lottery.
Should any of the 20 licenses go unclaimed by the beginning of 2022, Daily Fantasy Sports operators and video poker establishments will be permitted to submit license applications.
Tax revenue legislation has been set forth by HB 697. Under the terms provided by this law, each sports betting applicant must pay a non-refundable application fee of $250,000, plus a license fee of $500,000 to cover the first five years of operation. Based on the tax language in the bill, operators will be required to pay a 10% tax on retail sports betting operations and 15% on betting revenue secured through online/mobile sports betting operations.
When Will Sports Betting Go Live in Wyoming and Louisiana?
As is the case for several other states like Connecticut and Arizona, parties with a vested interest in the sports betting community in Wyoming and Louisiana have a very specific launch date in mind. Each of the aforementioned states would like to have its sports betting windows open by the beginning of September. Why?
As any sports fan and sports bettor in America knows, the NFL regular season is set to begin on September 9, 2021. It should come as no surprise that everyone is targeting that date as the “drop dead” date for having sports betting operators in place.
Realistically, the beginning of September is a viable target for several reasons. First, it looks like both the Wyoming and Louisiana state legislatures should have all the details ironed out by the end of July. That would be barring any potential hiccups in Wyoming.
Second, it’s clear that both states will be getting support from the top sports betting operators in the U.S. This matters because all of these operators have already been through the U.S. sports betting launch process on several occasions. They already have established websites, links with funding providers, and complete access to betting information from all over the world. Most of these established operators already have a turnkey sports betting solution in place.
Finally, the motivation to meet the September deadline is very high. There is a lot of money to be made for the sports betting operators from the betting handles and the state through tax revenue. However, the success of the sports betting industry is in the hands of the bettors.
In both states, sports bettors have been waiting a lifetime to bet on sports legally. Now that the time has arrived, it’s a good bet the sports bettors are going to respond with great enthusiasm.