Editorial: 'Smart on crime' one of the successes of the 2017 Louisiana legislative session_lowres

State Rep. Joe Marino, No Party-Gretna (right).

The Louisiana House rejected Thursday the bill that would set up the taxing and regulation of sports betting, should lawmakers legalize that sort of gambling.

Without House Bill 587, sports betting can’t operate if approved.

At 65-27, the tally came up five votes shy of the 70 needed to progress. But the vote was close enough that Rep. Joseph Marino, No Party-Kenner and chief sponsor, can take another run at it next week.

Thirteen representatives weren’t in the chamber and didn’t vote.

Legislators posed few questions and little debate even as Marino kept repeating that 77 percent of the tax revenues from this activity would help fund education programs for children under the age 4.

HB587 would set up the regulatory and tax schematics. No casino can engage in sports betting, if legalized, until some sort of regulatory mechanics are approved.

The legislation would set a 13% tax on net proceeds from sports betting. Of that amount, 10% would go to help fund early education programs, 2 percent would go to the parishes where the casinos are located and 1 percent, up to $750,000, would fund help for problem gamblers.

Casinos would be required to pay a $50,000 fee and buy a $50,000 operating permit, the proceeds of which would pay for regulating the activity.

The Senate-passed legislation that would legalize wagering on professional and collegiate sporting events cleared House committee earlier this week but was diverted to another committee hearing – this time Appropriations to consider its cost – before the Louisiana House will take up the issue.

Most states have either passed – or in the process of doing so – legislation that would allow sports betting since a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year lifted a federal ban on the practice.

Supporters say sports betting would give the gambling industry in Louisiana – the state’s largest source of revenues – an additional way to make money as well as stem the numbers of Louisiana gamblers driving to Mississippi, where sports betting is already operational, and cut into the illegal business that bookies and offshore internet sites conduct.

Opponents say sports betting amounts to an expansion of gambling and don’t the state to condone an activity that is addictive to some.

Voting for taxing and regulating sports betting (65): Speaker Barras, Reps Abramson, Adams, Anders, Armes, Bacala, Bagley, Bagneris, Berthelot, Billiot, Bishop, Brass, T. Brown, Carmody, Carpenter, G. Carter, S. Carter, Chaney, Connick, Coussan, Cox, DuBuisson, Duplessis, Dwight, Emerson, Foil, Franklin, Gaines, Glover, Guinn, J. Harris, Hilferty, Hollis, Howard, James, Jefferson, Jenkins, Jordan, N. Landry, T. Landry, Larvadain, LeBas, Leopold, Lyons, Marcelle, Marino, D. Miller, Moore, Jim Morris, Moss, Norton, Pearson, Pierre, Pugh, Schexnayder, Simon, Smith, Stagni, Stefanski, Stokes, Talbot, Thomas, Turner, Wright and Zeringue.

Voting against HB587 (27): Reps Abraham, Amedee, Crews, DeVillier, Edmonds, Falconer, Garofalo, L. Harris, Henry, Hill, Hodges, Horton, Huval, Ivey, Jackson, M. Johnson, R. Johnson, Mack, McFarland, McMahen, Miguez, G. Miller, Jay Morris, Muscarello, Pope, Pylant and Seabaugh.

Not Voting (13): Reps Bouie, Bourriaque, C. Brown, R. Carter, Davis, Gisclair, Hoffmann, Jones, LaCombe, Leger, Magee, Richard and White.


Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.