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New Orleans Gambling Adverts Ban Proposal Sparks Debate

James Chittick

A fierce debate has been sparked after lawmakers began pushing for a ban on New Orleans gambling adverts.

This latest bill proposal comes as Louisiana legalized sports betting in 55 of its 64 parishes. That move came after voters in many New Orleans districts signalled their approval.

In a move that’s sparked strong debate throughout the state of Louisiana, State Rep. Shaun Mena is spearheading calls for new legislation.

The freshman lawmaker is pushing for a ban on all forms of gambling advertising in New Orleans. This includes television, online and print media.

Mena, who took office at the start of 2024, has made clear he does not wish to ban sports betting altogether, but to eliminate all promotion of said activities.

House Bill 727 Targets New Orleans Gambling Adverts As Louisiana Market Booms

Known as House Bill 727, the proposal was authorised solely by Mena. At a time when online sports betting is growing rapidly, this proposal would curtail the market’s growth.

Mena’s motivation reportedly comes from growing concerns relating to those seeking assistance via gambling addiction hotlines.

The representative clarified he has no intention of trying to ban sports betting, though. Instead, his proposal would see a ban on its advertisement.

He emphasized his wish to protect families and avoid the consequences of addiction. But despite Mena’s intentions, his bill has faced robust criticism.

State Sen. Kirk Talbot, a Republican representing River Ridge, cited the drastic economic impact of Mena’s proposal.

Talbot questioned the feasibility of imposing such a bill on the Louisiana gaming industry, which generated over $200 million in revenue last year while creating numerous jobs.

Mena’s Proposal Facing Stiff Resistance

Those opposing the legislation argue it could hinder the economy by impeding the casino industry’ advertising capability. Prominent landmarks such as the Caesars Superdome recently secured naming rights from a gaming company, something the proposed ban would have prohibited.

Mena has taken inspiration from a similar initiative proposed by New York Congressman, Paul Tonko. Tonko’s bill, named the “Betting On Our Future Act”, seeks to ban gambling advertisements across an array of media channels.

But the Louisiana Lawmaker has struggled to gain support for his bill in the state legislature. Meanwhile, Luisiana’s sports betting market generated $52.7m in gross revenue in January.

This was driven by aggressive marketing by the state’s ten mobile sportsbooks. While below December’s revenue figure, the state is still a big market for operators. With a 22.7% year-to-year increase in handle, January hit a record high for promotional spending.

Despite Mena’s bill facing uncertainty, the representative has remained steadfast in his desire to bring in this legislation.

With House Bill 727 awaiting consideration by a House committee, its is still very much up for debate and speculation. Many have therefore wondered if it will even make it past the House.

James Chittick
James Chittick