One of the items on every Louisiana voter's ballot Tuesday was a proposition that would allow sports betting, and voters in 55 of Louisiana's 64 parishes approved it.
“The people of Louisiana have spoken. Louisiana was missing out on tax revenue from not having legal sports wagering, and now we will be able to raise revenue to support our state’s many needs,” said Ryan Berni of Louisiana Wins, a coalition set up to get the prop passed. “Our Louisiana Wins coalition brought together industry, business groups, and community leaders to educate voters and approve this ballot measure that will help fund priorities here in Louisiana. We look forward to working with the Louisiana Legislature as they develop a framework for sports wagering in the 2021 legislative session so that we can deliver on the mandate from voters and quickly bring that tax revenue home to Louisiana.”
According to study commissioned by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, the state of Louisiana is losing as much as $330 million in taxable revenue, the group says.
Voters in each parish decided the measure, meaning sports betting would be allowed just as video poker is allowed, on a by-parish basis, not statewide.
The measure is on the ballot because the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law in 2018 that outlawed sports betting in all but four states. That law violated states' rights, the court decided. Since that time, sports betting has become legal in 23 states, with another 10 moving toward legalization with pending propositions or bills.
The Louisiana prop authorizes the legislature to begin setting up a structure for sports betting. That would include the way it would operate, how it would be taxed and oversight. Currently, gambling (or "gaming" as it generally is called in Louisiana law) is overseen by a division of Louisiana State Police.
Here's how Acadiana's parishes voted on it:
Acadia: Yes, 62 percent to 38 percent
Calcasieu: Yes, 66 percent to 34 percent
Evangeline: Yes, 62 percent to 38 percent
Iberia: Yes, 64 percent to 36 percent
Jeff Davis: Yes, 56 percent to 44 percent
Lafayette: Yes, 63 percent to 37 percent
St. Landry: Yes, 59 percent to 41 percent
St. Martin: Yes, 63 percent to 37 percent
St. Mary: Yes, 65 percent to 35 percent
Vermilion: Yes, 60 percent to 40 percent.
And here is how the voters in parishes where there are casinos voted:
In Allen Parish, where the Coushatta Casino is located, voters said Yes, 56 percent to 44 percent.
In Avoyelles Parish, where the Tunica-Biloxi tribe's Paragon Casino is located, voters said Yes, 64 percent to 36 percent.
In Bossier Parish, where five casinos are located, voters said Yes, 66 percent to 34 percent.
In Caddo Parish, where two casinos are located, voters said Yes, 70 percent to 30 percent.
In East Baton Rouge Parish, where three casinos are located, voters said Yes, 68 percent to 32 percent.
In Grant Parish, where the Jena tribe's casino is located, voters said Yes, 53 percent to 47 percent.
In Jefferson Parish, where there are two casinos are located, voters said Yes, 76 percent to 24 percent.
In Orleans Parish, where there are five casinos located, voters said Yes, 76 percent to 24 percent.
Note: There are casinos in Calcasieu, St. Landry and St. Mary parishes.