Louisiana Moves Closer To Getting Sports Wagering Started

Louisiana Moves Closer To Getting Sports Wagering Started
© USA Today

Another step forward in the Louisiana sports betting process took place on Thursday.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) approved emergency sports betting regulations for licenses and platform provider application forms, moving closer to launching retail and online sportsbooks in Louisiana.

On July 26, Ronnie Johns, a longtime Lake Charles lawmaker and sports betting supporter, was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards as chair of the Gaming Control Board.

The state aims to go live in time for NFL betting during the 2021 season. On Thursday, Johns reiterated the state wants to move things quickly, but no firm launch date has been established.

Johns resigned his state Senate seat to take the job. He had more than two years left before he would have had to step down because of term limits. Johns will need to get Senate confirmation in the next regular session to remain as head of the Gaming Control Board.

Mike Noel stepped down from the gaming board position in June, before a Senate confirmation hearing where he could have been asked about his State Police work during the fatal arrest of Ronald Greene, a Black man whose death remains under investigation, AP said.

Johns immediately surfaced as a possible replacement for Noel.

When Will Sports Betting Launch?

Louisiana, which saw 55 of 64 parishes approve sports betting at the ballot box last fall, had hoped to launch during the 2021 NFL season. State Senate President Page Cortez said in late June after Noel’s departure that without a gaming board chair that timeline might be delayed.

The nine-member Gaming Control Board oversees LA casinos, including the state’s riverboat casinos and the New Orleans land-based casino, plus more than 2,000 video poker sites, slot machines at four racetracks and Daily Fantasy Sports betting.

The gaming board must create sports betting rules and announce them publicly before casinos, restaurants, bars and other possible venues can proceed with betting parlors and kiosks.

The Louisiana sports betting law allows for retail and online wagering. The state will approve 20 licenses among 15 current casinos and five racinos, with two skins per license. There is a 10% tax on retail bets and a 15% tax on online wagers.

DFS Live in Louisiana

Louisiana legislators approved DraftKings for the first DFS license on July 15.

Daily Fantasy Sports was approved in 2018 by voters in 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. The six largest parishes by population — East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Orleans, Caddo, St. Tammany and Lafayette — supported DFS.

Players now have access to DraftKings DFS in the parishes approved.