Mobile Sports Betting Coming Soon to Louisiana, As Arkansas Inches Closer

Mobile Sports Betting Coming Soon to Louisiana, As Arkansas Inches Closer
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When Louisiana mobile sports betting begins, possibly within days, as many as 41 mobile platforms, called “skins,” could be available for people to choose from in using their smartphones or computers to place bets.

Under legislation that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed last summer, each of Louisiana’s 20 licensed casinos will receive up to two mobile betting skins.

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National online bookmakers, including FanDuel, DraftKings, WynnBet Louisiana and Caesars Sportsbook, are required to partner with these licensed casinos in making their skins available to bettors, Louisiana State Police Lt. Robert Fontenot told Gambling.com.

The Louisiana Lottery Corp. also will receive a skin, bringing the total to 41.

Interest in Mobile Sports Betting ‘Unbelievable’

Mobile sports betting could begin in Louisiana in time for the Feb. 13 Super Bowl, according to Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The NFL title game, held this year at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, always is a heavily wagered event.

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Two days before the mobile launch date, Johns will give the online bookmakers a heads-up so they can prepare, he told Gambling.com.

Before signing off on mobile wagering, Johns said he wants to be sure geofencing technology works in preventing sports betting in the nine of 64 parishes that voted against it in a November 2020 statewide election. In Louisiana, counties are referred to as parishes.

As the Super Bowl target approaches, Louisiana State Police troopers are completing their task of vetting the mobile license applicants. That process should be wrapped up soon, Johns said, adding that he will sign the necessary paperwork when he receives it.

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

20 Licensed Casinos Include Two Out-of-Operation Riverboats

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.

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One of these, 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.

The owners of the second inoperative riverboat, DiamondJacks, have until Feb. 25 to reopen in Bossier City or could be required to forfeit their casino and sportsbook licenses.

The owners had hoped to transfer the casino license to a proposed land-based resort in St. Tammany Parish, but voters in that South Louisiana parish rejected the plan in a local election last month. The owners of the riverboat casino are scheduled to present their new proposal at the next Control Board meeting on Feb. 19.

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Arkansas Could See Mobile Wagering Soon

Pending a few steps this week, Arkansas online sports betting could soon also become a reality.

On Tuesday, the Arkansas Racing Commission is set to hold an emergency meeting to discuss changing the wording in a proposed rule that would allow mobile sports betting in the state. Sports wagering currently is restricted to ticket windows and kiosks inside Arkansas’ three commercial casinos.

The change to be discussed Tuesday would remove a technical objection in the wording. If approved, the term net gaming “revenue” would be changed to net gaming “receipts.”

From there, the rule change would go before the Arkansas Legislative Council’s Administrative Rules Subcommittee for discussion at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

If the subcommittee approves the change, it will go before the full Legislative Council on Friday for final approval. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he supports mobile sports betting partly because it would keep Arkansas competitive with nearby states where online wagering is legal.

If the full legislative panel approves the Racing Commission’s rule change, statewide mobile sports betting could begin in February.

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