Louisiana Mobile Sports Betting on the Way as Casinos Take in Millions

Louisiana Mobile Sports Betting on the Way as Casinos Take in Millions
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The sportsbooks inside Louisiana’s commercial casinos collected $39.5 million in bets during December, according to state gaming regulators. That total is up about $8 million from November, the first full month ever for legal sports betting in Louisiana.

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Louisiana Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns said the December sports betting figure is “very encouraging.” The board met Thursday in Baton Rouge.

The money wagered on sports in the state is expected to increase by a large amount once people are allowed to use their smartphones and computers to place bets. The majority of sports bets in the U.S. are placed on mobile devices. Louisiana is projected to fall in line with that national trend.

Mobile Sports Betting Expected Soon in Louisiana

After the board meeting on Thursday, Johns told Gambling.com he still anticipates mobile betting will launch in time for the NFL’s 56th Super Bowl on Feb. 13. The Super Bowl, always a heavily wagered event, is scheduled to be played this year at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

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“The interest in mobile is unbelievable,” Johns said. “My phone rings every day.”

In addition to benefitting from Super Bowl bets, Louisiana should see extensive mobile wagering during the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament, to be played April 2-4 at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, Johns said.

Louisiana also is expected to benefit from having Texas, the nation’s second-most-populous state, as a next-door neighbor. With sports betting illegal in the Lone Star State, many Texans are likely to drive across the state line to use their smartphones in placing legal bets.

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Online Bookmakers to Get 2-Day Notice Before Mobile Launch

Once Louisiana State Police troopers have completed their task of vetting the online bookmakers seeking to operate in the state, Johns will sign the paperwork to launch mobile wagering, he said. The vetting process is expected to wrap up soon.

Johns previously told Gambling.com he wants to ensure geofencing technology works correctly in banning sports betting in the nine parishes that voted against it in a 2020 statewide election.

Two days before the mobile sports-betting launch date, Johns will alert the online bookmakers so they can prepare, he told Gambling.com.

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Each of Louisiana’s 20 licensed casinos is allowed two “skins,” the industry term for an online betting platform and accompanying smartphone app. The casinos can use these skins in partnering with brand-name, national online bookmakers.

The Louisiana Lottery Corp. also is permitted to operate a skin, bringing the state total to 41.

DiamondJacks Gets Until Late Next Month on Reopening Decision

Louisiana’s 20 licensed casinos include 13 riverboats currently in operation, one land-based resort in New Orleans and four horse tracks with slot machines, called racinos.

Two riverboat casinos are licensed but are out of operation.

One of those, the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, was damaged in a 2020 hurricane. It is expected to reopen in the fall as the Horseshoe Lake Charles, a land-based casino with a Caesars Louisiana Sportsbook.

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The Control Board on Thursday gave the owners of the other inoperative riverboat, DiamondJacks, until Feb. 25 to reopen in Bossier City.

In November, voters in St. Tammany Parish rejected a bid to transfer that license to a proposed land-based resort near New Orleans. If the riverboat doesn’t reopen, it could be required to forfeit its casino and sportsbook licenses. The riverboat casino’s owners are scheduled to present their plans at the next Control Board meeting on Feb. 19.

5 More Sportsbooks Slated to Open

The $39.5 million handle at 11 sportsbooks in December earned a combined $4.38 million in net revenue, after winning bettors were paid. One month earlier, with three fewer sportsbooks in operation, the net revenue totaled $5.68 million.

Two other sportsbooks being built at casinos during December essentially did not contribute to the month’s total.

Also in December, five licensed casinos did not have sportsbooks.

These five are the Bally’s and Sam’s Town riverboat casinos in Shreveport, the Amelia Belle riverboat casino near Morgan City, and two horse tracks, the Fair Grounds in New Orleans and Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, the Control Board chairman said. WynnBet Louisiana Sportsbook looks set to be available very soon.

Sportsbooks are expected to be up and running soon at these properties, Johns said.