Daily fantasy sports is finally coming to the state of Louisiana, and it could pave the way to legalized sports betting as well.
Thanks in part to a special legislative session necessitated by the coronavirus, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill establishing a tax rate for the DFS industry into law in July. Louisiana residents had approved the legalization of DFS back in 2018 by a 47-17 margin in the Bayou State’s parishes.
That seemingly formidable mandate remained dormant until, ironically, the current health crisis and the need for additional revenue streams helped spur lawmakers into action.
With a fee and tax rate now in place – three-year operator licenses will cost between $5,000 and $40,000 on a revenue-based sliding scale and DFS companies will pay an 8.0% tax rate on net revenues – the stage is set for a possible rollout prior to an NFL season still slated to kick off Sept. 10.
This news is naturally a boon for Louisiana sports fans and fantasy players.
They’ve been restricted from participating in paid-entry DFS contests to date based on previous state law. With the NFL’s Saints boasting a notoriously rabid base of supporters and the NBA’s Pelicans averaging over 16,500 fans this season in their Smoothie King Center home, the pump for DFS popularity appears to be primed.
How Louisiana players can sign up for daily fantasy sports
Once the green light is given for the duo to open up shop in the state, sports fans/fantasy sports enthusiasts within the boundaries of any of the 47 parishes that voted to legalize DFS two years ago will be able to set up an account with either or both operators through the web or by downloading the DK or FD app onto their smart devices. You will be able to get started at DraftKings here and FanDuel here.
Geolocation -– which is integral to compliance for all operators offering legal mobile gaming products — will be particularly important in Louisiana.
The technology usually ensures those attempting to enter a paid DFS contest or place a bet with an online sportsbook are physically within the boundaries of a state where the activity is legal.
In the case of Louisiana, it will drill down further and confirm a would-be DFS contest participant is within the borders of one of the 47 parishes in which the activity is allowed.
What sports are available to play?
It remains to be seen if Louisiana DFS users will be able to participate in contests involving their beloved LSU Tigers. The NCAA frowned upon such things as weekly college football contests a few years back but things have loosened up since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was lifted in 2018.
For instance, users in 29 US states can participate in DraftKings’ “CFB Classic.” Under this type of contest, a user selects college football players listed in a player pool. Results are determined by the total number of points accumulated by each individual lineup. For instance, you would get 4 points for a passing TD, 3 points if your quarterback has a 300+ yard passing game, and -1 point if your quarterback throws an interception.
Daily fantasy sites like DraftKings and FanDuel do offer contests for all of the major sports leagues in the US, including NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, PGA and UFC. You can also play games involving sports like tennis, NASCAR and esports.
Taste of DFS could lead to sports betting cravings
A pre-NFL season debut means the state’s residents will have a chance to play for what are annually the biggest prize pools of any DFS sport.
What should be a momentous start for DFS in the state should also only serve to whet the appetite for legalized sports betting in Louisiana.
The two industries have often been intertwined in multiple ways throughout the last two-plus years in particular. One of the most prominent examples is the rapid and successful expansion of DK and FD into the legalized sports betting realm in the form of DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
In Louisiana, DFS and legal sports betting were also joined at the hip legislatively in 2019. It’s believed that’s one of the reasons a tax rate and fee structure for the former wasn’t passed in last year’s session.
However, with the DFS framework bill having gotten through both legislative chambers quite easily as a stand-alone item during the special session – and the need for enhanced tax dollars to make up for COVID-related shortfalls likely to be just as prevalent next year – there is renewed optimism a sports betting legalization voter referendum this November passes and gets the ball rolling toward an eventual legalization of that industry in Louisiana as well.