Louisiana Daily Fantasy Sports Bill Blocked

A bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in Louisiana has drawn some surprise opposition that threatens to derail the measure. The bill would classify fantasy sports as a game of skill, but opponents say luck is still a factor and playing fantasy sports is gambling. The bill will not be heard during the current state legislative session, which ends this week.

A bill to legalize daily fantasy sports in Louisiana seemed to be sailing through the state legislature, but has now hit a roadblock in the state Senate.

The bill from state Rep. Joseph LoPinto would differentiate playing fantasy sports from gambling under the state’s laws. Fantasy sports would be seen as a game of skill.

But according to reports, the Louisiana Family Forum as well as brick-and-mortar casinos in the state say fantasy sports are still gambling and have come out against the bill.

The bill was approved by the state House of Representatives, but has now been blocked in a state Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill was “voluntarily deferred” by LoPinto, which means the bill is still alive, but not currently scheduled for a vote before the committee.

And since the state’s legislative session ends this week, the bill is essentially dead for now.

“I brought that bill, and obviously I know that there’s a lot of controversy that has been brought with it,” LoPinto said to the committee. “I’ve been trying to work with both sides in order to make that happen, it has not happened as of yet.”

The Louisiana Family Forum issued an e-mail blast in April opposing the bill saying “Because these games involve consideration in terms of a fee to participate and also involve payout partially based on luck, we believe that allowing participation in these games would be an expansion of gambling.”

The forum also says the bill has no provisions to regulate daily fantasy sports.

Current Louisiana law prohibits online gambling and the state is one of only about five in the country where daily fantasy sports sites don’t operate.

Lobbyists for the daily fantasy sports industry are hopeful the bill will re-emerge in the next legislative session.

Fantasy Sports Trade Association counsel Jeremy Kudon told legalsportsreport.com that the group is trying to educate legislators about daily fantasy sports.

“People have misconceptions about daily fantasy sports that we are actively working to dispel and to essentially how it works and why it is not a form of gaming, why it is not an expansion, and why it shouldn’t be a threat to any established gaming interest,” Kudon said.