Louisiana Sports Betting is Going Live Friday Ahead of NFL Conference Championship Games

Louisiana Sports Betting is Going Live Friday Ahead of NFL Conference Championship Games
© USA Today

Updated Jan. 27

Louisiana mobile sports betting will be live on Friday at 8 a.m. CT.

Louisiana’s 20 licensed casinos are allowed two mobile betting platforms each, called “skins,” but all these might not be put into use, Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns told Gambling.com.

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Johns said all the license holders might not need two skins each. The Louisiana Lottery Corp. also is allotted a skin, bringing the potential total in the state to 41.

“A lot of properties are going to use one skin,” he told Gambling.com.

Johns, a former state senator from the Lake Charles area, said a discussion arose at the legislative session last year about allotting three for four skins to each casino licensee, but even then, that seemed like too many.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed legislation this summer authorizing legal sports wagering in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it during a November 2020 statewide election.

Although some license holders will use only a single skin, casinos across the state will have skins in operation, Johns said.

“The entire market will be covered,” he told Gambling.com.

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Louisiana’s 20 state-regulated 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.

Louisiana Launches in Time for NFL Game with Former LSU Stars

Johns told Gambling.com the Louisiana launch is happening in time for bettors to wager on the Cincinnati Bengals’ AFC Championship game on Sunday in Kansas City against the Chiefs. The Chiefs are favored by 7 points. Kickoff is set for 2:05 p.m. CT.

The Bengals feature two former LSU stars who led the 2019 Tigers to the national title, quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals are being closely followed among Louisiana football fans, where the SEC West Tigers have a large statewide fan base.

Johns told Gambling.com the Bengals-Chiefs game on Sunday has “created an incredible interest in Louisiana.”

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Louisiana gaming officials used a similar strategy when allowing on-site casino sportsbooks to begin accepting in-person wagers on Oct. 31. That launch coincided with a New Orleans Saints home game against the defending NFL Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and star quarterback Tom Brady.

It's also happening at a time that Louisiana bettors can wager on who might be the next Saints coach after Sean Payton stepped down this week.

Mobile sports wagering also is expected to generate a large volume of activity in the state for the Feb. 13 Super Bowl. The NFL’s 56th Super Bowl is being played this year at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

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.

Texas Mobile Bettors Likely to Wager in Louisiana

Legal mobile wagering in Louisiana also is expected to generate interest among Texans who are likely to drive across the state line to use their smartphones in placing bets. Sports betting is illegal in Texas, the nation’s second-most-populous state, only behind California.

With the launch Friday, Louisiana will be the only state along the Gulf Coast with legal mobile sports betting.

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Online Bookmakers Gear Up for Mobile Wagering in Bayou State

Johns said he was not authorized yet to say which online bookmakers will be in operation on Friday.

Some of the ones approved are acknowledging they'll be starting on Friday.

BetMGM Louisiana sent out a news release Wednesday morning.

BetMGM’s CEO Adam Greenblatt said the company is proud to “be in the first wave of operators to launch mobile sports betting in Louisiana this Friday.”

“We thank both the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana State Police and look forward to parlaying BetMGM’s success in neighboring regions into a long, successful, and responsible relationship with sports fans in the state,” he said.

The CEO for Caesars Louisiana Sportsbook also sent out a release.

“Caesars Sportsbook is ready for mobile sports betting’s debut in Louisiana on Friday. This is an opportunity we’ve been working toward for a long time.” Eric Hession, Co-President of Caesars Digital, said in a release. “We’ve seen tremendous interest in legal sports betting since the opening of our Caesars Sportsbooks at Harrah’s New Orleans and Horseshoe Bossier City. Come Friday, through the app, we’ll be able to offer even more opportunities to experience the thrill of sports wagering.”

In DraftKings' release, the company pointed out that NFL betting has been strong at retail sites.

DraftKings Sportsbook Louisiana says that since November, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams have taken the most action.

The company reports that a five-team NFL parlay during Week 17 where a player bet $1,000 netted $72,000 in winnings at its Golden Nugget retail site. DraftKings also said that they 2022 College Football National Championship between Georgia and Alabama on Jan. 10 has been the most heavily bet event to date.

“There have been several DraftKings developments in Louisiana in the last year alone, including the debut of our daily fantasy products and retail sportsbook, and this latest online sportsbook launch is another significant milestone,” Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, said in the release. “Although Louisiana bettors have previously been able to place wagers in person at our Golden Nugget Casino Lake Charles location, the arrival of mobile betting greatly enhances accessibility and adoption potential within the Pelican State.”

Others expected to be live on Friday include FanDuel, BetRivers and BetFred.

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