Industry Reports

Louisiana Legislature to Consider DFS Regulation, Taxation and Age Restrictions in Months to Come

Last week, 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes gave the nod to online daily fantasy sports (DFS). Now, they will have to decide on the regulations of the new form of gambling which is to be brought to their economies. The big question now is whether the restriction and tax rates applicable to other forms of gambling in the state would also apply to DFS.

Experts have explained that some gambling interests which have already been considered in Louisiana would probably be involved in discussions regarding regulation of DFS. One of the leading lobbyists for the local video poker industry, Alton Ashy, said that it definitely needed to be fair and reminded that the state would have to give people the right to share their opinion on the body which is to regulate the new form of gambling, as well as on the tax rates and age limits.

For the time being, thousands of local residents are employed in casinos, video poker and race tracks businesses across the state. It remains to be seen whether the same rules which apply for these forms of gambling will also apply to the online daily fantasy sports contests.

Tax Rates and Age Restrictions among Most-Discussed Issues

An appropriate tax rate and other regulations for the DFS remains to be passed by the Louisiana Legislature in the legislative session which is set to being on April 8th, 2019. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board which serves as the state’s gambling regulatory body is expected to roll out new rules regarding DFS based on the laws enacted by the local Legislature. According to experts, the process will take no less than four months due to some requirements regarding public input.

Ronnie Jones, the Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, explained that DFS would probably not be available in the state until November or December 2019. According to him, there is no possibility for a quicker enactment of online DFS contests’ rules and regulations.

As far as the DFS tax rates are concerned, it ranges from 6% to 15.5% in most states, and there are even states which do not tax this gambling activity at all. However, these tax rates are far lower than the one which is currently being paid by local gambling operators.

Currently, most casinos which operate in the state of Louisiana pay a 21.5% tax. Racetrack operators are charged with an 18.5% in state taxes and another 4% in local taxes, while video poker operators have to pay a 26.5% tax in case they are part of a hotel, restaurant or a bar, and 32.5% in case they offer their services at a truck stop.

Age restrictions on DFS contests are the other matter that would have to be considered by local legislators. Other states have already set the age limit on DFS at 18, while others do not allow persons under 21 to participate in such a form of gambling. Louisiana has both. Individuals under 21 are not allowed to play casino games or video poker machines, but they are permitted to start betting on horse races at the age of 18.