Louisiana’s sports betting legalization effort edges ahead


In this March 22, 2019 photo, gamblers watch live sporting events at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Since sports betting became legal last year in New Jersey, the state’s casinos and racetracks had taken more than $2.6 billion worth of bets through the end of April 2019. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A proposal to legalize sports betting in Louisiana edged forward in the Legislature, winning the backing of a committee packed with several anti-gambling lawmakers.

The Senate-supported legalization bill won passage Tuesday from the House criminal justice committee, with an 11-6 vote.

Still, more hurdles remain, including a possible review from the conservative House budget committee before the measure can reach the House floor.

Republican Sen. Danny Martiny’s bill would allow wagering on professional and college sports at Louisiana’s casinos and racetracks.

The senator says sports betting already happens through bookies, online offshore sites and neighboring casinos in Mississippi. He says Louisiana should regulate and tax the activity, with the dollars largely earmarked for early childhood education.

Opponents say gambling damages families and causes addictive behavior.

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