Louisiana is consistently one of the poorest states in America. There are different metrics for what makes a state “poor”; however, Louisiana earns the label regardless of how it is defined. For example, when using the percentage of the population living at or under the poverty line as the standard for whether a state is poor, Louisiana ranks second to last. When ranking states based on a combination of variables, including state finances, state economies, and state job markets, Louisiana ranks, once again, second to last.
Logically, a state struggling financially might want to embrace a new stream of income. For Louisiana, sports gambling provides just that. In November of 2020, Louisiana voters in 55 out of 64 parishes voted to make sports betting legal within their parish, which will lead to the legalization of sports betting in a majority of the state. This result was not a surprise, as Louisiana is no stranger to gambling. In 2020, Louisiana’s gambling offerings, such as casinos, video poker machines, and racetracks, generated $609 million in state taxes, which accounted for roughly 5% of Louisiana’s overall revenue. For comparison, Louisiana is also a prominent oil and gas producer, and oil and gas production only accounted for $550 million in state taxes, which was 4.5% of the state’s revenue. While Louisiana voters may not consider potential tax revenue as the driving force behind their voting decisions, the legalization of sports gambling provides Louisiana with both a new stimulus to its struggling economy and a new pool for state taxes. Continue reading