Legal sports betting? La. lawmaker considers using revenue to fund early education

Local

(WVLA) – Louisiana lawmakers looking to legalize sports betting are poised to take another gamble this spring, with childhood education on their minds.

Sen. Danny Martiny plans to draft a bill to let sports betters make wagers inside casinos and race tracks. It could include an amendment that would earmark gambling revenue to early child care.

“You’re not going to run into too many people who will tell you that dedicating money to early childhood education is a bad idea,” Martiny told BRProud.com.

Martiny’s bill last year to legalize sports betting — which did not seek to fill early learning gaps — failed in the Legislature. The Jefferson Parish Republican argues that dedicating dollars to state care programs could raise his chances of success this time around.

“My job as a legislator is to get the necessary votes to get the bill passed,” he said. “I’m just trying to wade my way through the legislative process.”

The effort comes as state education officials seek to ease a waitlist in the state’s pre-kindergarten services. More than 3,000 children age three and under are awaiting aid through the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps working families in need.

“They’re waiting to go to work, waiting to find a safe educational place for their child,” state education Superintendent John White told the Press Club of Baton Rouge Monday. “We cannot afford to segment opportunity and leave kids out.”

Members of the state’s Early Childhood Care and Education Commission say improving the program could cost about $86 million a year for the next 10 years.

Martiny is considering a 10 to 12 percent tax rate on wagers, which would deliver between $25 million and $40 million annually.

White says legalized sports betting on its own would not be enough to meet his department’s early education needs. He also questions whether the Legislature’s critics of sports betting will shift their stance. Opponents have long argued that authorizing wagers would enable problem gamblers.

“My observation in the politics is not that it’s evident that this is a good thing in the first place, wherever I stand on it,” he said.

State lawmakers are set to start considering bills when they reconvene at the State Capitol on April 8.

Legislative support would mark only one step in the legalization of sports betting. Parish voters would still have to decide this October whether to permit it inside casinos and race tracks. The Gaming Control Board would still have to craft regulations before the activity can become legal.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Overcast

Abbeville

55°F Overcast Feels like 55°
Wind
3 mph SSW
Humidity
91%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Overcast with rain showers at times. Thunder possible. Low 51F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
50°F Overcast with rain showers at times. Thunder possible. Low 51F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Wind
6 mph E
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Crescent
Overcast

Crowley

56°F Overcast Feels like 56°
Wind
6 mph E
Humidity
87%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A few showers this evening with overcast skies overnight. Low near 50F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
50°F A few showers this evening with overcast skies overnight. Low near 50F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Wind
6 mph E
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Crescent
Overcast

Opelousas

55°F Overcast Feels like 55°
Wind
3 mph SSW
Humidity
88%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A steady light rain early...then remaining cloudy with a few showers. Thunder possible. Low 52F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
50°F A steady light rain early...then remaining cloudy with a few showers. Thunder possible. Low 52F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Wind
6 mph E
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Crescent
Overcast

Breaux Bridge

56°F Overcast Feels like 56°
Wind
mph
Humidity
84%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Cloudy with occasional showers. Thunder possible. Low 53F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
50°F Cloudy with occasional showers. Thunder possible. Low 53F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Wind
6 mph E
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Crescent
Overcast

New Iberia

56°F Overcast Feels like 56°
Wind
9 mph ESE
Humidity
97%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Cloudy with showers. Low around 45F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.
53°F Cloudy with showers. Low around 45F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 40%.
Wind
4 mph E
Precip
80%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Crescent

Sidebar

Trending Stories