In the 2018 case, Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). PAPSA went into effect in 1993 and prevented any state from legalizing sports gambling (unless the state was grandfathered in). As a result of the ruling in Murphy, the Supreme Court essentially granted individual states the right to legalize sports gambling.

As of July 2020, 21 states[1], including Mississippi, have passed legislation ushering in sports betting. In the first 12 months of legalized sports betting in the Magnolia State, Mississippi gamblers wagered over 300 million dollars gambled on sports and sent a total of 4 million dollars to the state. This from a state that has only 64% of Louisiana’s population[2] and had consumers spend $481,171,615.00 less than the State of Louisiana received in 2017.[3] Mississippi also only allows in-person gambling on sports, refusing to permit mobile sports betting at this time. Allowing mobile sports betting has shown to increase accessibility to consumers and provide for more revenue for the state when allowed.

Despite two of its neighbors permitting sports betting (Arkansas and Mississippi), Louisiana has yet to make that leap. The failure of 2019’s Senate Bill 153 was the latest in postponing sports betting in Louisiana. However, in 2020, sports gambling legislation was pushed once again with Louisiana lawmakers pre-filing legislation allowing for Louisiana voters to determine whether to allow sports betting in their individual parishes.

Last month, Senate Bill 130, proposed by Senator Cameron Henry, was signed by the Louisiana Governor becoming Act 215. This law enacts R.S. 18:1300.24 and 27:15.1 wherein a proposition election will be added to the November 3, 2020 ballot to determine whether to allow sports betting on a parish-by-parish vote. If a majority of the qualified electors in a parish voting on the proposition vote for it, then sports wagering activities and operations shall be permitted in such parish only after state law providing for licensing, regulation, and taxation of such activity and operations are enacted and become effective. The legislature will have to propose laws for licensing, regulation, and taxation in the 2021 session since the legislature only addresses fiscal matters in odd-numbered years. Therefore, it appears likely that Louisiana residents could potentially be placing sports bets in their home state as early as summer/fall 2021.

In 2018, Louisiana saw a similar proposition offered to its voters for a parish-by-parish vote to legalize daily fantasy sports, a game where consumers compete against other patrons by building a team within a given salary cap/budget. Forty-seven of the sixty-four Louisiana parishes voted to allow daily fantasy sports in 2018 which required infrastructure to be put in place (revenue allocation, tax mechanism, etc.) However, in 2019, the Louisiana legislature failed to approve any tax mechanism for daily fantasy sports preventing Louisiana residents from enjoying the changes for which they voted. Hopefully, the legislature will address a system for allocation and taxing in 2021 for daily fantasy sports and sports betting.

Keeping Louisiana residents’ money in-state will result in a boon for the in-state entertainment industry along with injecting cash into the state’s budget. Additionally, just as some Texas residents do for other gaming entertainment, Louisiana could see some Lone Star State visitors coming over to bet on sports as well (if western Louisiana parishes vote to allow for sports betting). Despite Texas lawmakers presenting sports betting bills in the past, nothing has been enacted and Louisiana is closer to allowing these activities. Likewise, if passed, online sports betting in Louisiana could induce residents of other nearby states that do not offer mobile betting to drive into Louisiana to place bets on one of a multitude of mobile sports betting platforms.

Despite PASPA being declared unconstitutional over two years ago, the sports betting industry still has room to grow. With new states coming on board with sports betting every year, the industry is certain to continue growing. Covid-19 has certainly changed the way Louisiana residents participate in entertainment during 2020. Although the future of Covid-19 is uncertain, having options for at-home and mobile sports betting entertainment may be just what the doctor ordered.


[1] Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington

[2] Based on 2019 data

[3] for gaming consumer spend by state in 2017