Sports betting efforts have made progress in both Minnesota and Louisiana so far in April. This month’s advance in Minnesota can be measured in inches, but updates in Louisiana bring that state one big step closer to legalizing sports betting.
The Supreme Court is currently deciding the New Jersey sports betting case and is expected to issue a ruling any day over the next couple of months. If the Supreme Court rules the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional, individual states will gain the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting as they see fit.
Already, a number of states have introduced and/or passed legislation to legalize sports betting contingent upon the Supreme Court striking down PASPA. Certain lawmakers in Minnesota and Louisiana are pushing for their states to follow suit and join the party on the chance that PASPA is overturned.
What’s Happening in Minnesota
Minnesota Representative Pat Garofalo has been leading the push to legalize sports betting in his home state since last year. He said back in February that he believes legislation will be acted on during the 2018 legislative season and he continues to push for sports betting today.
Last week, Garofalo said Minnesota needs to act now so as not to be left behind if the Supreme Court does overturn PASPA. He pointed out last Monday that other states and even offshore sportsbooks could get the jump on Minnesota and potentially cause the state to miss out on millions of dollars’ worth of tax revenue if the legislature does not act.
Garofalo said what lawmakers decide to do this year “will decide who gets to take in billions in sports wagers and make tens of millions of dollars.” He also warned that if the Supreme Court overturns PASPA and Minnesota fails to act “offshore sportsbooks will flood social media and scoop up bettors who think they are regulated, legal and taxed.”
As 2018 marches on without legislation, the odds of successfully introducing something this year grow dimmer. As the Star Tribune noted, the legislature adjourns on 21 May. If that date passes without legislation, Minnesota may indeed miss out on a favorable Supreme Court decision and have no ability to take action until the next legislative session.
The introduction of sports betting legislation does remain a possibility in Minnesota, however. The Star Tribune obtained a draft bill seeking to legalize sports betting both online and in the real world.
Louisiana Sports Betting
One of the three sports betting bills introduced so far this year in Louisiana advanced through a key committee earlier this month. Senate Bill 266 introduced by Danny Martiny proposes holding a statewide referendum on November 6th, 2018 asking residents if they wish to authorize sports betting in their parishes.
In each parish that votes in favor of sports betting, licensed casinos, riverboard casinos, racetracks and holders of video poker licenses will be allowed to offer sports betting. A Senate committee approved the bill last week and will now move to either the Senate finance committee or straight to the full Senate.
Senator Martiny wants Louisiana to move quickly so as not to be left behind by other states. He told the committee, “When the Supreme Court rules, I can assure you that Mississippi will be up and running in 30 to 45 days – if not sooner – and so will Arkansas.” Senator Martiny wants Louisiana to be ready to pounce on the opportunity.