Hurricane Ida delayed the launch of Louisiana sports betting by about two weeks, according to Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns.
Johns previously said Oct. 1 was the goal to launch Louisiana sports betting. With the delay, he told LSR Wednesday he is moving quickly to get licenses approved.
The Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division is working through 13 applications. The LGCB approved final sports betting regulations Sept. 16.
The LGCB also gave Johns authority to sign licenses as soon as the state police approve them.
“I’m not going to step out and give a time frame, because I don’t want to create a false expectation,” Johns said. “We really want to get this moving and operational as quickly as possible.”
Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty told KTAL he expects the licenses in mid-October.
Hurricane delays Louisiana sports betting
Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans earlier this month and caused an “incredible amount of damage,” according to Johns.
The emergency response to the disaster required the state police officers who were working on the licensing process, causing the delay. Those officers are back now, Johns said.
“We’re 100 percent engaged now,” he said.
Retail Louisiana sportsbooks coming first
Louisiana sports betting legislation passed earlier this year, creating 20 sports betting licenses for the state’s casinos and race tracks. Thirteen of them have finished their applications.
Johns said he hopes to approve and announce them in batches. He does not intend to roll them out one-by-one.
“We have to do it in a compliant way,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s done the right way and do it well.”
Mobile comes later
Each of the 20 licenses can have up to two online sports betting skins.
Johns said they are working on the sports betting apps in Louisiana, but it is likely “a couple months” behind the retail launch.
Several major sportsbooks already have connections in Louisiana, but the Caesars Louisiana Sportsbook has made the biggest splash. Along with a downtown New Orleans Harrah’s, the company acquired the Superdome naming rights. Caesars also partnered with LSU and NOLA.com earlier this month.
Lottery behind as well
The legislation also grants the Louisiana Lottery a sports betting license. Along with a mobile application, the lottery will allow restaurants and bars to operate sports betting kiosks.
Lottery officials said it will likely launch in January 2022.
“The Lottery must develop official rules and promulgate them with the Attorney General’s office following the Administrative Procedures Act,” Kimberly Chopin, Louisiana Lottery Director of Communications, wrote in an email. “At this time, we are in the process of finalizing our rules to submit as part of that process.”