Voters decided in November 2020 to approve Louisiana sports betting in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes.
The legislature passed a Louisiana sports betting referendum bill to put the question of legalization in front of voters. Louisiana residents overwhelmingly chose to bring legal sports betting to their state.
The future of Louisiana sports betting
The question in front of voters was:
“Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of _____?”
Even one parish choosing to legalize sports betting would have been enough to direct the state to follow through with regulation.
Many parishes either have a casino or are adjacent to a parish that does. Louisiana has 20 state-regulated casinos or racinos and three tribal casinos.
The successful vote won’t bring legal sports wagering to Louisiana just yet. The legislature must come back in 2021 and pass two more bills: one with language for regulation and licensing procedures and another setting the tax rate.
Then, Saints fans could feasibly have an option for legal Louisiana sports betting by the fall of 2021.
When will online sports betting launch in Louisiana?
It’s not a sure thing that Louisiana will authorize sports wagers to occur online.
Two alternate LA sports betting bills considered in 2020 would have limited mobile wagers to the boundaries of a casino and its amenities.
The bill that made it simply put the question on the ballot and left the issue of mobile wagering to be decided next year.
Sen. Cameron Henry, who sponsored the referendum bill passed by the legislature, recognizes that capturing the illegal betting market requires giving people the same ease of wagering from their phones. But he’ll obviously face some opposition to that opinion in 2021.
Recent Louisiana sports betting news
Legal sports betting options in Louisiana
Other than betting on horse racing, there are no legal sportsbook websites accepting bets from people in Lousiana.
Some illegal offshore websites offer sports betting in Louisiana. Lacking oversight in the state, they can’t be counted on to pay out winnings. If you see an app or website offering sports betting on the bayou, it is operating with a US license.
The only safe and protected way to bet on sports in the US is through a licensed operator.
Most popular sports to bet on in Louisiana
Louisiana has two major professional sports teams: the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. It is the least populous state with more than one professional sports league franchise.
In some years, LSU football can be considered on the cusp of fielding a professional-caliber team.
NFL betting in Louisiana
Who dat? The New Orleans Saints shed the ‘Aints’ nickname and forever won a place in the heart of the people of Louisiana by helping spirits rebound from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina to win their first NFL Super Bowl title in 2010.
The quarterback of that team, Drew Brees, is still at the helm and he has help from two of the best in the game with Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara.
Just don’t ask Louisiana sports bettors about that missed pass interference call that cost the Saints a trip to the 2019 Super Bowl.
NBA betting in Louisiana
The New Orleans Pelicans haven’t had much luck in their nearly 20-year history as an NBA team in the city. The team had to temporarily relocate to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina and had the indignity of briefly having ownership taken over by the league in 2010.
Not even landing Anthony Davis with the first overall pick in 2012 could make the Pelicans into competitors.
However, the franchise’s fortunes appear to be turning around. By landing Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball from the Lakers for Davis and getting lucky in the lottery once more to draft Zion Williamson with the top pick in the 2019 offseason, the Pelicans have an exciting young team that will have the interest of bettors for years to come.
NCAA betting in Louisiana
The LSU Tigers are one of the most dominant college football programs over the past two decades. Led by gritty but lovable coach Ed Orgeron, LSU won its fourth national title in 2019. QB Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy on the way to being the top overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Orgeron has the Tigers contending for a national championship every season, making them a popular betting option in the state.
Louisiana and Daily Fantasy Sports
Louisiana voters in 47 of 64 parishes legalized daily fantasy sports in 2018. Yet none of the major DFS sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel currently operate in the state.
This is because the Louisiana legislature has yet to follow up on the vote by passing a bill to tax DFS.
Tax bills must pass in odd years and need to reach a high threshold of support from two-thirds of lawmakers.
There appears to be pressure for the legislature to respond to the edict from voters. At the very end of the 2020 legislative session, lawmakers passed a DFS regulatory bill.
The legislation sets up three-year licenses on a tiered fee structure. For an annual average of GGR over the three years less than $100,000 the fee is $5,000, between $100,000 and $300,000 the fee is $15,000, more than $300,000 the fee is $40,000.
The delay on DFS following the 2018 vote serves as a warning that a successful election for the sports betting referendum in November doesn’t guarantee that LA sports betting will start in 2021.
Is horse racing legal in Louisiana?
Yes, parimutuel wagering was legalized in Louisiana in 1940.
The state has four racinos that offer live races, horse betting and casino games. The racinos are Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, Delta Downs and, in New Orleans, the Fair Grounds has been running races since 1872.
Louisiana sports betting timeline
With Sen. Danny Martiny termed out of office, several legislators stepped in to push for Louisiana sports betting.
Some of the bills put the question of sports wagering on the ballot but also included regulatory language that limited LA sports betting to casino properties, leaving no possibility for people to bet from their homes.
Fortunately, the bill to get through from Sen. Cameron Henry merely put the issue on the ballot and set the regulatory authority as the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. It left the decision on mobile betting for next year.
Lawmakers came down to the final day of the session but failed to pass a bill that would have both put Louisiana sports betting on the ballot and provided implementation language.
Sen. Danny Martiny made a major effort to get a LA sports betting bill through.
After his S 153 to authorize sportsbooks at state casinos and racetracks was loaded with poison-pill amendments including the inclusion of video poker parlors, he shifted tactics and added the sports betting language into a DFS bill that had momentum.
Even though voters had tasked lawmakers to do a DFS bill, it couldn’t get support on the final day.
Louisiana sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
Yes, pending launch in the future. Voters chose to legalize sports wagering in 55 of 64 parishes on the November 2020 ballot. Lawmakers now need to pass subsequent legislation in 2021 before legal sports betting can launch in the state.
Who would oversee sports betting in Louisiana?
The sports betting referendum bill passed by Louisiana in 2020 specifies that the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will regulate sports betting in the state.
Will mobile LA sports betting be allowed?
It’s truly up in the air. Some sports betting bills introduced in 2020 limited LA sports betting to casino properties. However, the referendum bill that passed left that question to next year and there are lawmakers who see the importance of mobile wagering.
There are some sports betting websites that say they accept bets from the United States. Are those legal options?
No. Any website that accepts betting from all around the US is a website that operators offshore. It is not legal for those sites to accept bets from US citizens. Those sites offer no protection to consumers. All US sportsbooks are licensed at the state level.