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Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, right, speaks in Senate Judiciary B Committee on his SB202, which provides relative to the regulation of sports wagering, at the Louisiana Legislature, Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in Baton Rouge. At left is Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen.

The House Administration of Criminal Justice committee tarried for five or six minutes over the legislation outlining the rules and policies on sports betting before advancing the measure Tuesday towards its final passage.

The second bill in the package – the one dealing with taxes and fees – was sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards Tuesday after clearing all its legislative hurdles. Once both measures are signed into law, the Gambling Control Commission will set up regulations and the casinos will get the equipment in place.

The measures go into effect on July 1 and allow for temporary licenses to get up and going by the beginning of football season, though Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, said Monday it’s more likely that residents of 55 of the state’s 64 parishes won’t be able to place bets on their smart phones, at casinos or at kiosks in bars and some restaurants until sometime during the football season. Under House Bill 697, sponsored by Crowley Republican Rep. John Stefanski, the Louisiana Lottery Corporation will handle retail sports wagering at bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Senate Bill 247, sponsored by Cortez, sets out that the 20 casinos on riverboats, on land and at racetracks will have to pay $250,000 to apply and clear a vetting that’s not unlike the one they’ve already undergone. Once an applicant has cleared the suitability requirements, the casino then will have to pay $500,000 for the license that will last for five years. Each licensee will be able to contract two different platforms to handle mobile betting.

Cortez and Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, added technical changes to the wording of the instrument before the committee voted, which means that should the full House also approve, SB247 will have to return to the Senate for approval of the new wording.

“I like what y’all have done,” state Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge. “Putting these regulations in place are certainly important to make sure we get it right.”

Email Mark Ballard at mballard@theadvocate.com.