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It Won’t Be Long Before Louisiana Legal Sports Betting Goes Live

A general view of the College Football Playoff semifinal game between the Clemson Tigers and the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sean Gardner/Getty Images/AFP.

Momentum for a Louisiana legal sports betting scene had been impressive before Hurricane Ida stopped the regulation process in its tracks. While still cleaning up from the storm, some necessary resources needed to complete Louisiana’s legalization process have been reinstated, giving an immense sense of optimism the kickoff of a broad legal sports betting scene in the Bayou State isn’t too far off.

Regulators have said that 13 out of the state’s 20 casinos have already applied for sportsbook licenses. The other seven are expected to get their licensing taken care of by January 1. By that time, it will have been over a year since 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted “Yes” to legal sports betting on the November 2020 Election ballot.

A Little History of the Louisiana Market

The Louisiana legal sports betting market has been one of the most anticipated in the US. Home to a bustling casino market and an incredible tourism sector, sports betting has long been viewed as the next logical step toward full wagering platforms in the state.

On the 2020 Election ballot, only 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to welcome sportsbooks into their jurisdictions, however.

Louisiana has traditionally been a hotbed of sporting actions. Not only is it home to iconic sports franchises like NFL’s New Orleans Saints, the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans but it also houses one of the most popular and successful college sports programs in the nation – the LSU Tigers.

Louisiana has the Superdome, home of a slew of past (and future) Super Bowls, College Bowl Games, and games in the annual March Madness tournament.

Early Expectations

Louisiana’s legal sports betting market is expected to launch as a top-10 producer in the US legal sports betting scene. There are 4.6 million residents in the state and a rabid sporting fanbase. The enormous tourism sector in Louisiana is expected to also be a major contributor.

There have been numerous studies done about the potential of the Louisiana market by sportsbook providers, regulators, and industry analysts. The latest has the state generating an eye-opening $644.2 million in revenues per year upon maturity.

An Option Being Floated to Launch Immediately

Currently, sportsbooks in Louisiana are stuck waiting on the completion of a few regulatory hurdles that still have to be satisfied. But an interesting option for immediate launch in the form of a “temporary certificate of operation” could be signed off by the state’s chief regulator, Ronnie Johns.

Johns has doubts that this step will be necessary, however. “It’s possible, but I seriously doubt I’ll have any to sign in the next two weeks,” said Johns, who chairs the Gaming Control Board. “But I am anticipating some recommendations very soon.” It appears as though Johns prefers patience rather than a regulatory order.

What’s in the Way

As mentioned, Hurricane Ida threw the legalization process for the Louisiana sports betting industry out of whack. Prior to the storm, things were moving along adequately, and sports betting was supposed to be live by now.

The Hurricane however drew resources such as the Louisiana State Police, whose job was vetting providers of legal sports betting, away to assist with rescue efforts and other aspects of cleanup for the massive weather event.

As it stands, the vetting process is reportedly two weeks behind but is rolling once again. Some sportsbooks are ready to go once the word comes down that legal sports betting is prime for takeoff in the state. There are just a few final touches in the way for Louisiana’s sports betting scene going live.

What to Expect Going Forward

Once all of the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed on the regulatory portion of the sports betting industry, providers will start taking bets at lounges located in retail facilities. Some have already been built and they are impressive.

Just how the lounges operate is one of the rules still being developed and is one of the holdups for the platform going live.

It looks as though retail-only betting will kick off the Louisiana overall platform with mobile apps taking hold sometime down the road. All 20 brick-and-mortar facilities have been tasked with finding two mobile provider partners whose platforms will be geofenced for the time being.

Eventually, state-wide mobile sports betting will commence and institutions such as bars and restaurants will gain the right to offer betting kiosks to their loyal patrons.

Without Much Fanfare

Legal sports betting has already started in Louisiana thanks to Paragon Casino Resort, through a partnership with Betfred Sports launching their platform earlier this month. New Orleans Saints legend Joe Horn was the honorary first Louisianan to place a bet.

So, while residents of Louisiana may have to wait a little longer before being able to place a legal sports bet, the wait will likely be worth it. The ambitious goal is that by the end of 2021, a full-scale sports betting platform will be live in the Bayou State, and most like their chances.