Published: March 22, 2024

Sports Betting Commercials May Be Eliminated by Louisiana Lawmaker Initiative

Louisiana State Rep. Shaun Mena (D-Mid-City) recently introduced legislation that, if passed, would halt advertisements from online sportsbook operators in the state.

House Bill 727 (HB 727) seeks to ban operators of fantasy sports contests and sportsbooks that do business in Louisiana from advertising there.

“Proposed law prohibits holders of a license to operate fantasy sports contests or sports wagering from advertising fantasy sports contests in the state,” according to the text of the bill. “Proposed law provides that advertising fantasy sports or sports wagering in violation of proposed law shall result in revocation of the fantasy sports contest operating license.”

Mena, who was elected to office in 2023, is the only sponsor of the bill as of Monday. He said HB 727 is aimed at reducing problematic wagering habits, which he says have increased in the state since online sports wagering was approved.

Mena Bill Likely Tough Lift in Louisiana

In an interview with WDSU 6, Mena was clear to note that he’s not attempting to halt sports wagering in Louisiana. He merely wants to eliminate related commercials.

Still, the legislation faceos an uphill climb. Mobile sports wagering launched in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes in February 2022, including all of those in the New Orleans area. Broadly speaking, it’s been a success in the state, meaning there’s likely little appetite in the Republican-controlled State Legislature to advance Mena’s bill.

Louisiana’s online/mobile sports wagering market is among the most competitive and vibrant in the country. Operators there include ESPN Bet, BetMGM, Bet Rivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel, among others.

Louisiana is one of the largest gaming markets in the U.S. Dominant land-based casino operators there include Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming. Some brick-and-mortar casino firms in the state also participate in the regulated sports industry. Some are also active in political lobbying, which could stunt the progress of Mena’s bill.

Regulated betting in various forms is big business in Louisiana, generating more than $200 million in revenue last year for the government there. Of the three states with which it shares borders, Louisiana is the only one that offers mobile sports betting.

Inspiration for Louisiana Bill

Mena isn’t the first politician to introduce legislation aimed at prohibiting sports wagering advertisements. Last year, U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced the Betting on Our Future Act. That bill sought to “prohibit the advertising of sportsbooks on any medium of electronic communication subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission.”

Tonko’s bill was fashioned after the legislation signed into law in 1970 by President Nixon — a Republican — that banned tobacco companies from advertising on television.

With some form of sports wagering now live and legal in 38 states and Washington, DC, some politicians believe limiting related ads is pertinent to avert problem wagering. Some consumers and TV viewers see the frequency of these spots as an annoyance.

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