Louisiana

La. gaming chief: Legal fantasy sports won't likely go live until late 2019

BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) -  While many fantasy sports fans are one step closer to playing on in parts of Louisiana, they may have to wait sometime before cashing in.

Voters moved to legalize paid-use fantasy games in 47 of the state's 64 parishes Tuesday. Speaking to BRProud.com Thursday, the state's gaming chief said lawmakers and regulators will spend the next year crafting guidelines.

"I know some people were hoping they'd be able to bet on the first game of the football season next year," said Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. "It may be further into the season."

Legislators this spring will consider whether to tax winnings from sites like Draft Kings and FanDuel. The gaming board will spend time testing geofence technology, to limit fantasy sports access to parishes where the referendum passed.

"It would carve out those parishes where you could not participate," Jones said. "There must be a process to certify that the technology is up, running and working all the time."

Fantasy sports platforms would absorb costs tied to geofencing, as they have in other states where such games are legal. Jones said he saw the virtual grid at work on the George Washington Bridge, from New Jersey to New York.

"If you're playing on your mobile device across the bridge to Manhattan, the green light turns to red, and you're taken immediately off the air," he said. "It's a technology I have a lot of confidence in."

Opponents of fantasy sports include leaders from the Louisiana Family Forum. In next year's legislative session, group president Gene Mills plans to lobby against underage gaming. Jones maintains that the state board does not support youth participation and will block fantasy sports sessions in parishes where the proposition failed.

"We're going to properly screen people who are involved," he said. "We have to make sure the public knows we're going to act on their behalf, that things are done with integrity."

Other forms of sports gaming remain illegal in Louisiana. State measures to legalize sports betting dissolved earlier this year. Lawmakers will likely revive debate in the spring.

How the parishes voted

  • Allen - NO
  • Acadia - YES
  • Ascension - YES
  • Assumption - YES
  • Avoyelles - NO
  • Bienville - YES
  • Bossier - YES
  • Beauregard - NO
  • Caddo - YES
  • Calcasieu - YES
  • Caldwell - NO
  • Cameron - YES
  • Catahoula - NO
  • Claiborne - YES
  • Concordia - YES
  • De Soto -  YES
  • East Baton Rouge - YES
  • East Carroll - YES
  • East Feliciana - YES
  • Evangeline - YES
  • Franklin - NO
  • Grant - NO
  • Iberia - YES
  • Iberville - YES
  • Jackson - NO
  • Jefferson - YES
  • Jeff Davis - NO
  • Lafayette - YES
  • Lafourche - YES
  • Lasalle - NO
  • Lincoln - YES
  • Livingston - YES
  • Madison - YES
  • Morehouse - NO
  • Natchitoches - YES
  • Orleans - YES
  • Ouachita - YES
  • Plaquemines - YES
  • Pointe Coupee - YES
  • Rapides - YES
  • Red River - YES
  • Richland - NO
  • Sabine - NO
  • St. Bernard - YES
  • St. Charles - YES
  • St. Helena - YES
  • St. James - YES
  • St. John the Baptist - YES
  • St. Landry - YES
  • St. Martin - YES
  • St. Mary - YES
  • St. Tammany - YES
  • Tangipahoa - YES
  • Tensas - YES
  • Terrebonne - YES
  • Union - NO
  • Vernon - NO
  • Vermilion - YES
  • Washington - YES
  • Webster - YES
  • West Baton Rouge - YES
  • West Carroll - NO
  • West Feliciana - YES
  • Winn - NO

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