Last updated: September 17, 2021
Louisiana sports betting could be ready to launch by the time football season arrives in 2021.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved emergency sports betting rules Aug. 19, and went into effect Aug. 23. The LGCB then approved the permanent rules Sept. 16, with the state register expected to publish the regulations sometime in January.
Voters decided in November 2020 to approve LA sports betting in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes. Legislators worked diligently to pass legislation to enact sports betting in their state. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the three enacting bills in June 2021.
What’s happening in Louisiana sports betting right now
- September 16, 2021 — The Louisiana Gaming Control Board passed the permanent sports betting rules which will replace the emergency rules passed in August. The state register will likely publish those rules in January. With the emergency rules, however, sportsbooks are still expected to launch sometime during the NFL season.
- August 19, 2021 — The Louisiana Gaming Control Board passed emergency sports betting rules, effective August 23, to start the licensing process and allow for the board to finish permanent rules. The hope is to have sports betting live at some point during the football season. If needed, the emergency rules can be extended another 180 days.
- June 22, 2021 — Gov. John Bel Edwards signed SB247 and SB 142 into law, capping off the trio of legislation passed by lawmakers to enact sports betting.
- June 10, 2021 — In a vote of 33-3, state senators pass the main Louisiana sports betting regulatory bill, SB247, sending it to Gov. Edwards. This means the two enabling bills for the industry are near official (pending the governor’s signature on SB247). The hope is to launch mobile sports betting sometime during the NFL season.
- June 7, 2021 — The speediest of three pieces of legislation to enable sports betting in Louisiana is now law. Gov. John Bel Edwards affixed his signature to HB697, which lays out the state’s tax and fee structure. Meanwhile, the Louisiana Senate continues to mull over the House’s amendments to its own bill, SB247, which creates the regulatory framework for the new sports betting industry. A third bill to specify where the tax revenue will go, SB142, is still awaiting a House vote.
- June 3, 2021 — SB142, the bill which clarifies and specifies how sports betting revenue will be distributed by the state, passes through the Senate by an overwhelming 33-3 margin. Although the majority of the allotment goes to the state’s general fund, there are sizable carveouts for early education and distributions to the parishes in which sports betting takes place.
- May 20, 2021 — HB697 sails through the Senate and becomes the first sports betting legislation to be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards. The passage comes one day after the Senate passed SB247, which calls for 20 sports betting licenses in the state. Each license grants the right to offer online and retail sports betting. The existing gaming venues in the state are the only eligible entities who can apply for a license.
- May 11, 2021 — HB697 passes the House as the most promising piece of sports betting legislation to become active in Louisiana. The bill sets the in-person sports betting tax rate at 10% and the online sports betting rate at 18%. The disparity is because of the fact that lawmakers want mobile sports wagering to drive the industry.
- April 12, 2021 — The Louisiana legislative session begins with a great deal of anticipation with sports betting. A quick check revealed a whopping seven sports betting bills pre-filed ahead of the beginning of the session.
- Nov. 4, 2020 — 55 out of 64 Louisiana parishes vote to allow sports betting, sportsbooks, and sports betting companies inside their borders. Louisiana lawmakers are now expected to pass sports betting legislation when the new legislative session begins in April 2021.
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
Yes, pending launch in the future. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved emergency rules to start the sports betting licensing process.
Voters chose to legalize sports wagering in 55 of 64 parishes on the November 2020 ballot. It is important to note that sports betting will only be allowed within the physical borders of those parishes. Geolocation technology within smartphones will verify the location of the bettor at the time of a wager before it is allowed.
The status of Louisiana sports betting
With emergency rules adopted, the sports betting licensing process can begin Aug. 23. Meanwhile, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will work to create permanent rules.
Even one parish choosing to legalize sports betting would have been enough to direct the state to follow through with regulation. It turned out that 55 of 64 parishes voted in favor of legal sportsbooks in Louisiana in 2020.
Only parishes that voted to approve sports betting will have legal sports wagering.
Three bills passed during the 2021 legislative session. One bill established 20 licenses, one each for the state’s 20 state-regulated casinos or racinos. Another bill sets tax and fee structures while also establishing a license for the Louisiana Lottery. The last bill appropriates the tax revenue generated from sports betting.
When will online sports betting launch in Louisiana?
During the 2021 legislative session, bill sponsors said a goal is to launch before the end of the NFL and NCAA football season. That would require a fairly quick turnaround from regulators to vet and license potential sportsbooks in Louisiana, but it certainly is possible to accomplish.
The official date is unknown, but with emergency rules, the licensing process will begin soon.
In the LA sports betting legislation, each license will receive two mobile skins, while the lottery license will act as a mobile license and provide kiosks at bars and restaurants. That could allow for a wealth of options in the Bayou State.
Online sportsbooks in Louisiana
The structure set up by state lawmakers through legislation in 2021 should provide bettors with many choices among online sportsbooks in Louisiana.
DraftKings and FanDuel contributed to political campaigns targeted at influencing voters to approve both sports betting and DFS in Louisiana, in separate elections. That clearly indicates their interest in offering their online sportsbook product in Louisiana.
Caesars Sportsbook also has ties to the New Orleans Saints through a stadium sponsorship deal signed recently.
Other prominent multistate sportsbook operators likely will explore the market as well. Those could include but are not limited to:
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Fox Bet
- Wynn Bet
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Louisiana sports betting bills
Three pieces of legislation are needed to create the first-ever legal sports betting market in the state of Louisiana:
A number of bills intended to legalize sports betting in LA came and went without the necessary votes in 2019:
Louisiana sports betting law
Legislators took up the task in 2021 of enacting the will of voters who approved legal sports betting in Louisiana in November 2020. The resulting laws create a robust and diverse market for online sportsbooks in Louisiana.
The regulatory framework includes 20 sports betting licenses. Those licenses allow the state’s 20 casinos and racinos to operate retail and online sports betting, including up to two mobile brands apiece. Online registration will be available, a key component when assessing the viability of mobile sports wagering in any state.
The Louisiana Lottery also receives a sports betting license, which will offer online sports betting. Through that license, sports betting kiosks can be located in bars and restaurants as well.
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 temporarily relocated 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 made 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.
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.
Legal sports betting options in Louisiana
Other than betting on horse racing, there are no legal sportsbook websites accepting bets from people in Louisiana just yet.
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.
Louisiana and Daily Fantasy Sports
Louisiana voters in 47 of 64 parishes legalized daily fantasy sports in 2018. DraftKings received the first DFS license on July 15, 2021. FanDuel is also a likely licensee as it contributed heavily to the legalization campaign.
It took nearly two years for the Louisiana legislature to pass a DFS taxation bill. The state began accepting DFS operator licenses in February 2021.
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.
Louisiana sports betting timeline
Lawmakers took up the task of creating a structure for sports betting in Louisiana after the November 2020 election set out what voters wanted.
Bills outlining taxation and regulation of sportsbooks in the Bayou State were necessary. Three sports betting bills passed during the 2021 legislative session in order to create a legal sports wagering market. Bill sponsors hope sports betting can be live during the football season.
One bill by Senate President Patrick Page Cortez outlined the regulatory framework for online and retail sports betting, including 20 licenses for the state’s casinos and racinos.
Rep. John Stefanski handled the tax and fee structure, as those rules must originate in the House by law. Stefanski also added a license for the Louisiana Lottery which also allows for kiosks at local bars and restaurants.
Senator Rick Ward wrote an appropriations bill, which spends the tax revenue generated by sports betting.
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 2021.
Voters ultimately chose to approve sports betting in the state in Louisiana in November in a majority of the Louisiana parishes.
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
Who would oversee Louisiana sports betting?
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 wagering be allowed?
Yes, 2021 Louisiana sports betting legislation allows for mobile sports wagering. There could be more than 40 potential brands in the state. Wagering must take place within an approved parish.
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.
Who can bet on sports in Louisiana?
To bet on sports in Louisiana, you must be 21 years old. While bettors do not need to be residents of Louisiana, they must be physically located within the state. Furthermore, they must be in a parish that approved legal wagering.
Can I bet on LSU and in-state college teams in Louisiana?
Yes, Louisiana law will allow for betting on the LSU Tigers and other local teams.