Still No Date Set For Launch of Sports Betting in Louisiana

Still No Date Set For Launch of Sports Betting in Louisiana
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A definitive date for launch of Louisiana sports betting launch is still on hold, according to Ronnie Johns, head of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Johns provided the latest update on the state’s sports betting launch during Thursday’s gaming control board meeting.

“I will tell you that we’re working through a process right now for the in-house licensing, as you know that’s going to come first,” Johns said. “The 20 possible applicants are being considered right now. The state police is doing an incredible job. They got set back by Hurricane Ida, but they’re back at it.

“I’m not going to give you a definitive date when we’ll issue licenses, but it’s going to be soon.”

Launch Date is Moving Target

Hurricane Ida delayed the state’s retail and mobile sports betting launch. The Gaming Division at the state police department reviews the applications from sportsbooks looking to enter the state and researches the applicants and vendors. The hurricane forced the officers in the gaming division to assist with the hurricane recovery process, setting it back 10-14 days of licensing work.

Initially late September was a projected launch date, then it was moved to early October. Now, it remains to be determined.

Sportsbooks have sent out media releases indicating an online sports betting soft launch could be coming to the state by this weekend. Johns dismissed those reports during the meeting.

“There’s been rumors about online sports betting being done very, very quickly,” he said. “There’s rumors that there will be some online sports betting this coming weekend in Louisiana. I will just say publicly that that’s not going to happen. That’s strictly rumor, and we’re going through an extensive process online with licensing. It’s a very complicated process, and we’re going to do it the right way.”

Caesars Sportsbook sent out an email stating, “We are anticipating a mobile soft launch within the next week, potentially before the weekend.” Meanwhile, BetMGM also set out an email saying, “We are excited to announce that we are preparing for a launch of our BetMGM Sportsbook product in Louisiana!” But according to Johns, both of those sportsbooks might have to wait longer before going live in the state.

WynnBET has also secured market access to Louisiana. The state would be the 17th jurisdiction where WynnBET Sportsbook is live.

FanDuel Daily Fantasy Approved

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board granted FanDuel a fantasy sports contest operator license on Thursday. According to the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, FanDuel expects to generate approximately $1.5 million in daily fantasy revenues in Louisiana. The division found minimal risk if FanDuel doesn’t meet those projections since it is not invested in a brick-and-mortar facility in the state.

The only cause for concern brought up by the division was FanDuel’s parent company, Flutter Entertainment, reporting operating losses and negative cash flows for the past several years. According to Flutter’s June 30 interim results outlook, they expect the U.S. segment to produce a positive EBITDA in 2023.

FanDuel representatives reiterated the negative cash flow is an aspect of getting the regulatory approvals and jurisdictions up and running but is looking forward to “making a lot of money and making money for the state of Louisiana.”

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board unanimously approved FanDuel’s license. DraftKings has been operating as a daily fantasy sports provider for the past few months.

“We do look forward to working with you on this as we move forward,” Johns said. “Especially with the sportsbook coming, it’s just a hot item here in Louisiana right now.”

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