Iberville Parish voters approve sports wager proposal

Staff Report

More opportunities likely will come Iberville Parish’s way within a couple years, based on voter approval of the sports wager proposition in last week’s election.

A total of 9,455 voters (64 percent) gave the green light to the proposal, which was voted statewide on a parish-by-parish basis, similar to video poker referendums in 1998 that gave each parish the option to approve or reject the measure. The measure drew 5,382 votes against it.

State laws and regulations now must be enacted before it becomes available in each parish. Legislators will create laws and regulations – including method for taxation – before it comes into play for each parish.

The proposal passed in all parishes throughout the Greater Baton Rouge area. Proponents of the bill said that people already bet on sporting events, and that the vote would legalize and formalize the activity to allow state and local governments to regulate and tax it. Mississippi and other states already permit it, along with unsanctioned betting platforms that are hosted overseas.

Retail and digital gambling companies could make up to $330 million per year in Louisiana and create new casino jobs that would generate an estimate $50 million in annual tax revenue.  

Opponents consider the bill a major expansion of gambling in Louisiana, and an attempt by casinos to draw in younger patrons. They fear it will put additional tax burden on people who are addicted to gambling.