HEAVY GOING FOR D.F.S. LEGALISATION IN LOUISIANA
30th May, 2015 at 10:53:30
Lopinto bill sails through the state House but is now meeting heavier opposition.
Rep. Joseph Lopinto's bill HB475, which seeks to create state law exemptions effectively legalising daily fantasy sports in Louisiana (see previous reports) may have sailed through the state House, but is now encountering heavy weather in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Local media reports indicate that Lopinto is having to deploy all of his legislative skills to keep the bill alive and away from an outright vote by the committee at this stage as opposition mounts from religious and conservative family-oriented action bodies, which view the proposal as an attempt to expand gambling in the state.
Adding to Lopinto's troubles, the bill faces a deadline of June 11, when the Legislature adjourns, narrowing his timeframe options.
Current Louisiana law specifically prohibits internet gambling, and opposing interests believe a DFS exemption could be the thin end of a wedge which could ultimately see online gambling being considered for legalisation.
There are also fears in some Louisiana land casino quarters that exemptions for DFS could constitute a competitive threat to their business.
In pushing back, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association says it is attempting to better educate legislators on the real nature of the burgeoning DFS vertical in moves designed to correct misperceptions about the genre.
The Association points to Pennsylvania as a state where there is a proposal to incorporate DFS activity into the businesses of existing land casino operators, improving their commercial performance in terms of more varied entertainment, and attracting a desirable demographic (see previous reports).
Although HB475 is the sole work of Rep. Lopinto, the measure has received some background support from the FSTA, which recently published data from a study that showed 70% of a significant sample of Louisiana residents supported the legalisation of daily fantasy sports in the state.
Two national sports league franchises, the New Orleans Saints in the NFL and the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, are supportive of the Lopinto bill, according to the FSTA.
Paul Charchian, president of the FSTA, said in a press release last week: "It's time for Louisiana to pass HB475 so that the state's residents can play all the fantasy sports contests that are legal in 45 other states."
However, Louisiana presently remains one of only five US states that oppose daily fantasy sports; the others are Iowa, Arizona, Washington and Montana, where polls suggest there is strong grass roots support for legalisation.
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