Louisiana Sports Betting Gets New Start Date Target

Posted on October 22, 2021
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Written By on October 22, 2021

A new start date for more Louisiana sports betting is on the table: Nov. 1.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns said he believes retail sports betting in Louisiana can be up and running by Nov. 1. Johns met with the Louisiana State Police for an update on the background investigations Thursday.

Regulators will avoid a one-by-one rollout, preferring to launch in batches. Johns said he would like to sign as many licenses at once as possible.

“I’m pushing hard for November 1,” Johns said. “I’m staying close to my office, I want to sign those licenses as soon as possible.”

First round of LA sports betting licenses

Louisiana sports betting legislation created 20 licenses for the state’s casinos and racinos. Thirteen have submitted licenses applications to the state.

Johns said there is a “gentleman’s agreement” to work on the applications that came in first. Regulators have adhered to that agreement, Johns said.

“They kicked some things back to them on internal controls, but we’re getting very close,” Johns said.

Sports betting launched delayed

At one point, there was hope the Louisiana sports betting market would launch sometime in September. Johns had pinpointed Oct. 1 as a potential launch date.

Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, causing severe damage and drawing State Troopers off of their regulatory duties. For several weeks, Johns has been hopeful the licenses would reach him in a timely manner.

His estimates continue to push back, however. Still, Johns said the casino properties have their temporary build-outs ready to go for retail sportsbooks.

“I’ve seen some of the artist renditions for the permanent sportsbooks and they’re outstanding,” he said. “I’m really excited. Some of the bigger casinos are going to spend some serious money.”

Tribal launch this month

Johns did note the tribal-owned Paragon Casino opened a Betfred Sportsbook earlier this month.

While he has not visited the property yet, he said it looks like a great addition to the state’s gaming landscape.

He did not have to sign off on the opening of the sportsbook since it is on tribal land.

Mobile LA sports betting still ‘a ways off’

While retail sports betting in Louisiana could launch within the next two weeks, Johns is less optimistic about online sports betting.

Each of the 20 licenses can operate up to two online skins. Those licenses are an additional load for the regulators, Johns said.

He expects an online launch to trail “a couple of months.”

Sports betting catalog approved

Johns also chaired an LGCB meeting Thursday where the board approved a sports betting catalog. That catalog should post Friday, he said.

Board members also signed off on the $22 million sale of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs from Caesars Entertainment and VICI Properties to Rubico Acquisition. The racino does plan to have some form of sports betting, Johns said.

Additionally, the LGCB approved FanDuel as the second daily fantasy sports operator in the state. DraftKings received the first license this summer after a nearly three-year process to get DFS off the ground.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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