Sports betting a step closer to being legal in Louisiana

Committee approves bill 3 - 1

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
April 23, 2019 - 2:04 pm
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A Louisiana Senate committee today advanced Senator Danny Martiny's bill to legalize sports betting at casinos and horse tracks.

"This industry is here.  It's unregulated.  It's underground... state police said there are at least 100 different sites you can go on right now to bet offshore.  We get no benefits of that," the lawmaker from Metairie told the committee.

He explained that people who want to bet on sports are already doing it illegally or in neighboring states.  He urged his colleagues to keep the revenue from sports gambling in Louisiana.

"It will stop some of the bleeding that is going offshore, to bookies and to Mississippi and Arkansas."

Senator Karen Carter Peterson, and admitted gambling addict, warned about the expansion of legal gambling in the state.

"I think it is another animal than anything that we have had before," she cautioned. "Whether it's horse racing, racinos, casinos, lottery... it's very, very different and quite scary frankly."

Peterson added, "It's the highest suicide rate of any addiction. Let me say that again - the highest suicide rate of any addiction. And why is that? Because it's very shameful."

Listen to the committee hearing:

If legalized sports betting revenue in Louisiana would be earmarked for problem gambling treatment and early childhood education. 

The committee voted three to one to advance the bill.

The full senate votes next.

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