May 4th, 2021 Weekly Report
This week in legal sports betting news, we saw a lot of moves in many markets! From discussions surrounding Illinois sports betting to Nebraska sports betting news, we have a lot to cover. Or, maybe you’re wondering about the status of Louisiana sports betting. Well, lucky for you, you can keep reading to learn all about that and more!
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Is There An Illinois Sports Betting Revamp on the Horizon?
This last week, various issues with Illinois sports betting were voiced at a House Executive Committee meeting. The elimination of in-person registration requirements were discussed, as well as the idea of betting on in-state collegiate sports. Also addressed was iGaming, horse racing, as well as video gaming machines.
The 2019 piece of legislation that legalized Illinois sports betting included an 18-month in-person sign up period.
Advocates for removing the state’s in-person registration requirement believe it is inessential when it comes to the success and growth of Illinois sports betting. This is largely in part due to the fact that most sports betting operators in the state receive their bets online. Advocates from several leading casino and sports betting operators have lobbied for its removal.
However, not everyone is advocating for the removal of the in-person registration requirement. Committee chair, State Representative Robert Rita, was one of the voices who came out in support of the requirement. State Representative Rita believes that the requirement serves an important purpose in supporting brick-and-mortar legal betting locations. But, it is important to keep in mind that there is currently no evidence to show that online registration harms brick-and-mortar locations.
The in-person registration requirement has already been suspended twice by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, when casinos in the state were shuttered due to a global health crisis. This has helped advocates for the removal of the requirement demonstrate what they believe to be its limitations.
The suspension of the requirement is credited with helping to fuel the major Illinois sports betting growth that the state has seen. But the in-person requirement suspension has expired recently and has been deemed no longer necessary by Illinois Governor Pritzker.
Neighboring state Iowa has also seen its sports betting growth limited by its in-person registration requirement. After the state’s in-person requirement mandate ended, the following month saw an increase of 42.7% in the Iowa sports betting market.
One of the original supporters of Illinois sports betting, State Representative Michael Zalewski, is now advocating to remove the ban on wagering on in-state collegiate events. He believes that while the ban had the best intentions, it is undermined by those wagers being offered by neighboring states as well as with offshore books. Advocates for in-state collegiate event wagers believe the sports betting market in the state is being limited by excluding those wagers.
However, those in the Illinois collegiate sports world are not so sure about this proposal. It has been voiced that the ban helps limit negative online messages, as well as undue influence on student athletes from their peers.
Nebraska Sports Betting Appears to Be on the Way!
It looks like we may be seeing Nebraska sports betting some time in the near future. However, it may be limited to in-person only. A few days ago, the one-house Nebraska Legislature decided to advance legislation LB 561 for final consideration. This comes after a second round of discussion in the legislature.
The bill will need 33 votes to pass when it comes up for its final reading, which is likely to take place in the next few weeks as the legislative session ends on June 10th. On its first reading that took place back in March, LB 561 passed with a vote of 37 to 5.
The bill would legalize retail sports betting in the state of Nebraska, as part of a larger change in Nebraska’s gaming landscape. Back in November 2020, Nebraska residents voted to approve an expansion into casino-style gaming at the six commercial horse racing tracks in the state.
But, this did not mean that Nebraska sports betting was always guaranteed to move forward this year. Once the legislators began working to regulate games of chance, retail sports betting inside of casinos was also added.
Back in March, an all-encompassing gaming package was created by the General Affairs Committee by merging legislation LB 560 into LB 561. The packaged legislation has a constitutional amendment that would allow casino gaming at licensed horse tracks, as well as laws that would regulate gaming, and an outline for the tax practices.
The package would merge the State Racing Commission with a newly created Nebraska Gaming Commission. Together, they would form the State Racing and Gaming Commission.
As of right now, the bill restricts Nebraska sports betting to designated areas at the casinos, meaning it would be retail-only for the time being. A few weeks ago, lawmakers voted to keep wagering on collegiate sporting events in the bill. But, they approved a different amendment that would prohibit in-play prop bets on specific college athletes.
Under The Nebraska Racetrack Gaming Act, casino revenue will be taxed at a rate of 20%.
Other midwestern states have seen boons to their economies since launching legal sports betting. These include Colorado, Illinois, as well as Iowa. This is why proponents of the bill are advocating so hard for it, to keep the revenue and taxes in-state, rather than risk losing it to other nearby states.
Neighboring states that have moved forward with their own sports betting legalization include South Dakota. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem during this legislative session signed South Dakota sports betting into law in the city of Deadwood, SD. And, after a surprising push in their legislature, Wyoming sports betting seems close to launching as well.
Plus, Kansas sports betting proponents pushed hard in the state’s legislature, though the measure appears to have stalled. The state of Missouri as well has seen its efforts to legalize sports betting put on hold for the time being.
How Close is Louisiana Sports Betting?
Back in November of 2020, fifty five of Louisiana’s sixty four parishes voted to legalize sports betting at the ballot box. Now, the state legislature is set to finish what that vote set in motion.
Last week, in the state of Louisiana, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a substitute bill from State Representative John Stefanski. This was for Representative Stefanski’s piece of legislation HB 628, which is a significant piece of legislation to legalize sports betting in the state. The bill then became HB 697 with the vote on the substitute bill.
In order to legalize Louisiana sports betting, it will most likely take a combination of bills. The one introduced by Rep. Stefanski includes the fee structure as well as the tax rates needed for sports betting in the state. Rep. Stefanski’s bill is one of three LA sports betting bills that are very likely to pass during this legislative session.
State Senate President Patrick Cortez is behind SB 202, which would regulate the Louisiana sports betting industry. And, State Senator Rick Ward is behind SB 142, which handles appropriations. And, that does not even cover all of the bills looking to regulate Louisiana sports betting that are currently floating around.
Senate President Cortez’s legislation would give the sports betting licenses to the state of Louisiana’s twenty riverboat casinos and racetracks. Though the legislation requires a physical sportsbook to legally operate, each license would also include two possible mobile skins.
Rep. Stefankski’s legislation outlines a lottery component as well, which boils down to basically awarding the Louisiana Lottery a mobile license. This component would allow local restaurants and bars that participate in lottery games the chance to install and operate legal sports betting kiosks in the state.
Each of the 20 licenses would cost a $250,000 application fee. And, they would need to pay a $500,000 license fee that would last for five years. In the bill, ets that were physically placed at sportsbooks will be taxed at a 10% rate. Mobile bets would be taxed at a rate of 18% in the bill.
Many hopeful Louisiana sports betting fans are worried the process could drag on. This is due to the fact that back in 2018, forty seven parishes of the state’s 64 voted to approve daily fantasy sports. However, in part because a taxation bill failed the following year, the launch for daily fantasy sports was delayed.
Rep. Stefanski came to the rescue by leading a daily fantasy sports tax bill effort that was able to pass in 2020. Then, Louisiana’s daily fantasy sports launch was delayed again, this time by the Gaming Control Board. Finally, the state of Louisiana back in February 2021 opened applications for daily fantasy sports operators. However, this took more than two years after the measure was approved at the ballot box.
Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert. You can learn more about our author's expertise.