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La. voters to decide whether to legalize online fantasy spor

edit:casino time:2018-10-26

Voters across Louisiana will decide Nov. 6 whether to legalize online fantasy sports betting within their parishes.

But even if voters in Terrebonne or Lafourche -- or any other parish -- approve the state ballot measure, don't expect to see this form of app-based or internet gambling go online locally anytime soon.

"Under this act, Internet and mobile device fantasy sports contests would be permitted in any parish that votes for it," the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana says. "Such contests would continue to be illegal until state laws and regulations are adopted."

Regulations would include how the fantasy sports contests would be taxed.

"Gambling winnings already count as income for personal income tax purposes, but it is possible if not likely that additional taxes and fees could be created," the non-partisan government watchdog group says in its voter guide.

Regulation would fall to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which is already responsible, along with State Police, for other similar activities such as video poker and casinos, PAR says.

The Legislature put the issue on the ballot earlier this year, with proponents touting it as a way to raise revenue for a state government that has dealt with repeated financial shortfalls.

Louisiana is one of nine states where such gambling is illegal; all the others allow it to one degree or another.

FanDuel and DraftKings, two of the biggest companies offering such online gambling, are promoting the measure's passage in Louisiana through a website, fantasysportsla.com.

"Adults should be able to spend their own money as they see fit, including on fantasy sports, setting their own budgets and accepting responsibility for their actions, win or lose," says the website, run by a Political Action Committee called Fairness for Fantasy Sports in Louisiana. "This is about personal responsibility and getting government out of our everyday lives.

"Additionally, it’s about fairness. Thousands of Louisiana residents are playing fantasy sports every day, yet Louisiana does not receive any tax revenue for that activity. Many states across the country allow all fantasy sports and are now getting that revenue. This law will clarify the legal status of fantasy sports and will ensure that they are taxed moving forward."

The Louisiana Family Forum, a coalition of more than 1,000 conservative churches, opposes the measure.

"You really are proliferating gambling across the land and in an aggressive virtual fashion," group President Gene Mills told WWL-TV this week. "I don't think we've really thought this through."

Mills said approval might also opens the door to children engaging in gambling.

"Our particular concern with the fantasy sports betting is that it comes into every home, in any nook and cranny of any given city," Mills said.

Get a detailed rundown on the pros and cons of the fantasy sports measure and six proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot at parlouisiana.org.

-- Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 857-2201 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.

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