Senate Bill 153, which calls for legalizing sports betting in the state, has been approved by the Senate in Louisiana. The Senate voted 24-15 in favor of the bill.
Earlier last week, a Senate panel had approved the bill by a 3-1 vote. The bill was introduced to the house by Senator Danny Martiny R-Metairie. After approval from the Senate, the bill now moves to the Louisiana House.
Though there has been considerable opposition to the new Bill, Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, is in favor of gambling expansion in the state.
Senator Martiny who introduced the bill said that the neighboring states are already legalizing sports betting and Louisiana would be left behind if they don’t act fast.
The senator has said that sports betting legalization would generate between $40 million to $60 million annually in tax revenues.
Talking about the allocation of the funds generated he had said that, “The tax revenue generated from legalized sports betting would be spent on providing funds to early childhood education programs along with setting up the adequate infrastructure and taking measures to check problem gambling.”
Lawmakers who are opposing the bill say that legalizing sports betting will lead to increased gambling addiction and therefore is not going to be as helpful as it is made to sound.
While neighboring Mississippi has been doing good to increase tax revenues by legalizing sports betting, lawmakers in Louisiana don’t want the state casinos to succumb to competition.
On Wednesday, Mississippi coastal Casinos that have started to offer sports betting gained 13 percent in revenues for the month of March. The majority of the revenue came from wagers placed on NCAA’s March Madness, a college level basketball tournament.