Louisiana is on pace to have fantasy sports contests by the start of this year’s football season, according to a state official.
Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division said to the Monroe, La., News-Star that two companies have applied to operate fantasy sports in the state. He said he anticipates a start date within several months.
It will definitely happen before the fall, as long as my investigators are getting all the documentation and paperwork they need,” McNeal said.
Stacie Stern, FanDuel’s governmental affairs director, said the company is working with authorities to meet state requirements for fantasy sports games. FanDuel is a New York-based company providing online sport betting.
“It’s definitely a big sport-fan state, so we’re excited to launch our product,” Stern said.
Louisiana is home the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. The state also has several universities with active fan bases, especially for football. The Louisiana State University Tigers are an annual football powerhouse, competing in the Southeastern Conference.
In fantasy sports, participants select a team made up of real players and match their individual game statistics against an opponent’s fantasy team for cash prizes.
In November 2018, Louisiana voters in 47 of 64 parishes supported a ballot measure allowing fantasy sports contests within their parish. Participants must be 21 or older.
In that election, FanDuel and another sports betting company, DraftKings, pumped $1 million into a political action committee that supported the fantasy sport ballot item, according to the Associated Press.
Part of the application process requires companies to verify that the games cannot be played in the 17 parishes where voters rejected fantasy contests, the newspaper reported. This process involves using geofencing to prohibit games in those 17 parishes.
Authorities have said the companies providing the games would be taxed at 8 percent of net revenues.
As state regulators hammer out details for fantasy games, lawmakers meeting at the capitol in Baton Rouge are deciding whether to allow online sports betting in the state. In online sport wagering, bettors can used their smartphones or computer in betting on real athletic events.
In November, Louisiana voters approved sports betting in 55 of 64 parishes. However, the ballot measure did not specify whether sports betting would have to occur in-person inside a casino at a sportsbook, or could be done online.
Louisiana is home to 13 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino in New Orleans, and four racinos.
State Senate President Page Cortez (R) has said sports betting will generate “meaningful revenue” only if allowed on mobile devices, such as smartphones. He has estimated mobile sports betting could generate $10 million to $20 million in tax revenue each year.
At least nine bills regarding sports betting are up for consideration during this legislative session. The two-month session ends June 10.
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