fantasy.062418 (copy)

In this Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, file photo, employees work at the DraftKings office in Boston.

A bill that would impose a 15 percent tax on the revenue from newly-legalized online fantasy sports games breezed through the Louisiana House on Wednesday.

The vote was 80-16, well over the 70 votes needed for final approval.

The measure, House Bill 600, next faces action in the state Senate.

Voters in 47 of Louisiana's 64 parishes last year authorized the games, which allows players using computers and smartphones to craft teams of players from major sports, pay an entry fee and pursue cash prizes based on how those players perform in actual games. 

Under the bill, 10 percent of tax receipts would be used for early childhood education and 5 percent would be allocated to local governments.

The games would raise around $2 million for early childhood education over five years.

The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge.

State Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, who is sponsoring a similar bill winding through the Legislature, urged the House to back Talbot's measure.

Talbot initially proposed a 10 percent tax on fantasy sports revenue and for companies to pay a yearly fee of $10,000.

He won House approval for an amendment that boosted the tax to 15 percent and the annual fee to $15,000.

The games were authorized after a $1 million campaign largely bankrolled by the two major sports fantasy companies — DraftKings and FanDuel.

Abramson noted that, without the state imposing a tax on gaming revenue, both of the New Jersey-based firms would collect all the proceeds.

The legislation is separate from efforts to authorize sports betting, which is already operating in Mississippi and elsewhere.

Rep. Robert Billiot, D-Westwego, sponsored the amendment that would direct 5 percent of tax receipts to local governments.

Billiot said doing so would aid police, firefighters, recreation centers and centers for the elderly.

The session ends on June 6.


Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.