According to published reports, Louisiana bill HB 475, which seeks to create a carve out from State gambling laws for fantasy sports games played for money (the “Bill”), may not make it past the State’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Due to strong opposition and lobbying by the Louisiana Family Forum (which, according to their website, is “an organization committed to defending faith, freedom and the traditional family in the great state of Louisiana”), a scheduled May 19 initial hearing on the Louisiana fantasy sports bill was “voluntarily deferred” and may not be considered before the legislature adjourns on June 11.
Why is the Bill being opposed?
Opposition to Louisiana Fantasy Sports Bill
As early as April 2015, the Family Forum began sending email to Louisiana citizens urging them to oppose the Bill. According to Gene Mills, president of the Family Forum, the Bill “opens the floodgates for a new form of online betting.” According to the Family Forum, the Bill is problematic because it does not seek to regulate activities, but instead may allow for expansive interpretations of State gambling laws.
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association, however, remains undeterred. According to Jeremy Kudon, counsel for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, “we didn’t expect to pass a bill in Louisiana in this legislative session. Our goal was really to build the groundwork for 2015. So we’ve been pleasantly surprised with the reception we’ve received, especially in the House.”
Although the Bill is not dead yet, June 2 may be the last day for the Bill to be considered before the current legislative session ends.
State Fantasy Sports Developments
We are monitoring a number of state legislatures that are attempting to regulate fantasy sports betting. We will continue to follow the progress of the current Louisiana fantasy sports Bill, and any future legislation that addresses fantasy sports betting in Louisiana