Louisiana Sports Betting: Retail Sportsbooks Get The Ball Rolling
Legal sports betting is live in Louisiana. On October 31st 2021, under the watchful eye of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB), retail sportsbooks began taking bets for the first time. It was perfect timing for sports fans in the Pelican State as the Saints took down the Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay on the same day.
The LGCB had issued four licenses for launch. Harrah’s in New Orleans and Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City got things rolling on October 31st. L’Auberge Baton Rouge and Boomtown Casino in Harvey on joined in one day later on November 1st. Caesars operate Harrah’s and Horseshoe while Penn National Gaming operate L’Auberge and Boomtown Casino.
Ronnie Johns the LGCB Chairman hopes to roll out additional licenses in the following weeks. 9 of the remaining 16 casinos and racinos eligible to apply for a sports betting license have submitted applications. They are are currently being reviewed by the Louisiana State Police. This brings the potential operator total to 20, including the 4 casinos that have already launched.
Online Sports Betting
Looking ahead to the next and arguably most important phase: fully mobile betting. Each of the 20 licenses, one for each of the state-regulated casinos or racinos, will offer up to 2 mobile skins. One additional Lottery mobile license will oversee kiosks at bars and restaurants.
Johns advised that Louisiana online sports betting is aiming to go live on January 1st, 2022. This would be in time for the NFL playoffs and well ahead of Super Bowl LVI. At one stage Louisiana had hoped to be ready by the start of the NFL regular season. However, Hurricane Ida threw that plan for a loop.
Interestingly, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel have already launched their mobile sportsbook apps. This allows players to download and register accounts in Louisiana. However you cannot bet on the apps until the official mobile launch date in 2022.
Road To Legalization
The path to legal sports betting in Louisiana began with Gov. John Bel Edwards signing three bills (HB697, SB142 and SB247) into law in June 2021. These bills oversee items such as taxation, redistribution of funds from the industry and regulatory framework within the sports betting industry.
Gov. Edwards’ signing came after 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes voted to legalise sports betting in November 2020. Parishes which voted against sports betting in their areas will be protected by geolocation software thus blocking any wagering within their boundaries.
Despite the public sports betting launch in November, one Louisiana Casino did open its doors a little earlier. Betfred sportsbook in the Paragon Casino in Marksville was able to kick off on October 6th. The reason for that is the Paragon Casino is on tribal land and thus does not require LGCB approval.
In addition to sports betting, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) started in LA on the 16th of July 2021 with DraftKings going live. This was the 44th DFS state for DraftKings. FanDuel entered the market a few months later in October. DFS will only be live in 47 of 64 parishes in Louisiana as per the November 2018 vote results. Similar to the parishes opposed to sports betting, parishes which voted against DFS legalization will be geo-fenced to block any form of DFS wagering within their boundaries.
With professional teams in both the NBA and NFL and 2019 NCAA football champions the LSU Tigers, there will be plenty of interest in the Louisiana sports betting space. Most observers expect the market to really take off when fully mobile online sports betting begins at the start of 2022.