Louisiana Mobile Sports Could Be Ready to Go By February

Louisiana Mobile Sports Could Be Ready to Go By February
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Mobile sports betting is still on target to become operational in Louisiana soon after the first of the year, according to the state’s top gaming regulator.

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Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, told Gambling.com on Friday his goal is to have mobile wagering ready to go by January. However, it could be February before it begins, he said.

February is expected to be a big sports-wagering month nationwide.

The Super Bowl, traditionally a major sports-betting event, is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2022. The game is set to be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, just south of Los Angeles.

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In addition to a land-based resort in New Orleans, 13 riverboat casinos are operational in the state, along with four racinos — horse tracks with slot machines.

During the summer, Gov. John Bel Edwards, (D), signed legislation legalizing sports betting in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it during a statewide election last year. Some of these casinos already have on-site sportsbooks.

On-site sportsbooks have been licensed more quickly than mobile applicants because the casinos seeking sportsbooks previously were licensed to operate in Louisiana. Mobile bookmakers had never been licensed in the state.

Louisiana State Police troopers, tasked with vetting license applicants, were pulled away from that duty in the fall to assist with hurricane recovery.

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Five New Sportsbooks Licensed

Five more on-site casino sportsbook licenses became effective on Friday, joining the eight already in operation, Johns told Gambling.com.

When the newly licensed sportsbooks are ready to accept bets, Louisiana will have 13 sportsbooks up and running inside casinos.

The new Louisiana sportsbook licenses are for three riverboat casinos and two racinos owned by Nevada-based Boyd Gaming.

The three riverboat casinos are Sam's Town in Shreveport, Treasure Chest in Kenner, and Amelia Belle in Amelia. Shreveport is in the northwestern corner of the state. Kenner is just northwest of downtown New Orleans. Amelia is near Morgan City, about an hour and a half southwest of New Orleans.

The two racetracks are Evangeline Downs in Opelousas and Delta Downs in Vinton. Both are in South Louisiana.

Johns said he expects to sign two more casino sportsbook licenses in December.

“That leaves five properties that have not applied, but I anticipate they will shortly,” he said.

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Two licensed Louisiana casinos are not currently in operation.

One riverboat casino in Lake Charles, which became dislodged and struck a bridge during a hurricane last year, plans to reopen in 2022 as a land-based resort. Lake Charles is in Southwestern Louisiana.

Another license-holder closed its riverboat casino in northwestern Louisiana and is planning to reopen as a land-based hotel-casino near Slidell, just north of New Orleans. The project, to be built in St. Tammany Parish, is up for a public vote there on Dec. 11.

Also after the first of the year, sports betting kiosks are slated to become available in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. The kiosk program is being overseen by the Louisiana Lottery Corp.