On Thursday, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved emergency rules to expedite the launch of sports betting in the state. Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns said sports betting could kick off during the upcoming football season; he had previously said it wouldn’t launch until early 2022. Johns said that “this has been the number one question asked of me: when is sports betting coming? We are behind our neighbor in Mississippi, but we’re going to try to catch up quickly.” Mississippi has 26 commercial casinos and legalized on-site sports betting, and Louisiana will attempt to have even bigger sports betting offerings.
Louisiana Sports Betting History
In 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Participation Act which had previously prohibited sports betting on a federal level – this paved the way for legislation on a state-by-state basis. In November 2020, 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes voted to allow sports betting in the state.
Three different bills have since been approved. SB247 called for 20 sports betting licenses in the state. HB697 set the in-person sports betting tax rate at 10% and the online sports betting rate at 18%. SB142 clarified the distribution of sports betting revenue. All three bills have been signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. At that point, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board would be responsible for setting rules and regulations.
Sports Betting Offerings
At the moment, Louisiana has 13 riverboat casinos, four racinos (casinos on racetracks), and one land-based casino in New Orleans. The Horseshoe Casino Lake Charles is also set to open in 2022 as a second land-based casino. This land-based casino is being built following the riverboat casino the Isle of Capri being destroyed during a hurricane. The new sports betting legislation is set to allow sports betting on mobile devices, in-person at casinos, and at kiosks in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
The urgency to push forward the sports betting launch in Louisiana partially comes from the potential for significant revenue associated with football in the state. Both the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers and the New Orleans Saints are highly popular teams with national recognition. The Saints and Tigers both kick off their regular seasons in September. The Saints renamed their stadium to the Caesars Superdome in partnership with the global gambling company that has a partnership with the NFL.
Louisiana will allow for 20 sports betting licenses and each license will include two mobile licenses – that means a potential of 41 online sports betting “skins” in Louisiana. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will receive the bids for gaming licenses. DraftKings and FanDuel are likely to be among the big players in the state, as is Caesars Sportsbook especially with its partnership with the Saints. Barstool, BetMGM, Fox Bet, PointsBet, and Wynn Bet are among the other likely providers.
Louisiana is hopeful to launch sports betting sometime during the NFL and NCAA seasons in order to capitalize on the potential for large amounts of revenue. Wade Duty, the executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, said “as far as timeline, I’d expect to see some of the brick and mortars ready by mid-September to take in-person, on-premises (wagers).”