Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns is more than happy with the first year of Louisiana sports betting.
Johns told LSR last week LA sports betting exceeded expectations in its first calendar year. Along with exceeding tax revenue projections for the state, Johns said there have been no problems from a regulatory standpoint.
“We could not be more pleased with the first year, we’ve had virtually no problems,” Johns said. “Obviously you want your numbers to be good for it to be successful, and it has. But as a regulator, first and foremost, you want things to go smooth and compliant and we’ve had no problems.”
Revenue beats Louisiana sports betting projections
Prior to legalization, legislative estimates suggested Louisiana could generate up to $30 million in the first year of sports betting. In 2022, the state generated approximately $32 million, according to Johns, who told LSR in October the NFL betting season might help propel taxes over the estimates.
Louisiana sportsbooks took more than $2 billion in wagers during the calendar year.
Approximately 85% of those bets were placed online, Johns said. Retail sportsbooks started to open in October 2021, while online sportsbooks launched in the last weekend of January 2022.
Mattress Mack ‘an interesting guy’
Johns said the Lake Charles casino properties still attract a large number of bettors from Texas. Included in that draw is Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.
McIngvale won $75 million on World Series bets in November, which contributed to a $25.4 million loss for Louisiana sportsbooks during that month. The furniture retailer uses the money to hedge advertising promotions.
“Mattress Mack has played a huge part in just keeping interest up,” Johns said. “His World Series bet was historical. That $75 million he won, I’ve identified $52 million came from Louisiana.
“He lost $9.5 million on the Super Bowl, $3 million on the college championship. So he’s giving some of it back already. He’s an interesting guy, but he’s promoting all that through his furniture sales.”
No interest in extra Louisiana skins
Betway expects to launch in Louisiana during the first quarter of 2023. The operator will be the ninth online sportsbook in the state.
There are 40 available skins, but Johns said there have been no other conversations for the open slots.
Operators live in Louisiana include:
- Barstool Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
Johns said he has not had any conversations with Fanatics, which said it would be in 15 to 20 markets by the 2023 NFL season kickoff.
Still no Louisiana Lottery betting
Along with commercial operators, the Louisiana sports betting law allocates an online skin to the Louisiana Lottery. In June 2022, Louisiana Lottery Spokesperson Kimberly Chopin told LSR the agency was in negotiations with a sports betting provider.
Those negotiations, however, fell apart. Last week, Chopin told LSR the lottery is no longer in negotiations with a sports betting vendor and is evaluating options.