(KLFY) — Today marks the day mobile sports betting officially goes live in Louisiana after in-person sports betting began on October 31, 2021. The first two months of betting generated over $1 million in tax revenue, which begs the question, how will the money be spent?
The bulk of the money from state tax revenue generated by sports betting will go to early childhood education, local governments, and mental health wellness.
Tax payment amounts on sports wagering were set when Senate Bill 247 was passed: a 10% tax at onsite sportsbook locations, and 15% on mobile sports betting.
Senate Bill 142, written by District 17 State Sen. Rick Ward, III, outlines how the money generated by sports wagering is to be spent.
A little less than half of the tax revenue, 41.5%, is allocated to specific funds, and the rest is “available as state general funds,” according to SB142. The following is a percentage breakdown:
- 2%, or $500,000, whichever is greater, goes to the Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund.
- 2%, not to exceed $500,000, will be credited to the Disability Affairs Trust Fund.
- 2.5% will go to the Sports Wagering Purse Supplement Fund.
- 10% will go to the Sports Wagering Local Allocation Fund.
- 25%, not exceeding $20 million, will go toward the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.
Chairman of Louisiana Gaming Control Board Ronnie John said there’s not yet an exact estimate of how much money the state will make off of the betting taxes, but he expects that after a few months, Louisianans will know what they can expect to see added to the state budget.
“I think after a month or two of online betting, we’ll have a clearer picture and probably be able to make good assessments of what our actual revenue will be on an annual basis for our state budget,” John said.
Louisianans voted to approve sports betting in 55 out of 64 parishes back in 2020. John said that sports betting in the state was green-lit by the people of Louisiana, which is why he and state lawmakers were adamant about doing crossing T’s and dotting I’s when it came to the legislation.
“Whether someone wins $10 or $1 million, it’s regulated, it’s safe, there’s a way to make sure that person is going to be able to get what they’re entitled to,” John said.
“This is not something that the legislature just slipped under the radar and said go do this,” he continued. “It was done by a vote of the people, and we’re going to do it the right way, we’re going to do it compliant, we’re going to do it safely.”