Thirteen of Louisiana’s 20 casinos have applied for sports betting licenses, with the first applicants now closer to being able to start booking bets on sporting events. The other seven are expected to apply before the January 1 deadline.
Ronnie Johns, Chairman of State Gaming Control Board, has the power to sign “a temporary certificate” of operation, which immediately allows casinos to start offering sports betting in-person and on-premises.
“It’s possible, but I seriously doubt I’ll have any to sign in the next two weeks,” he said, according to The Advocate. “But I am anticipating some recommendations very soon.”
The board is awaiting the results of the Louisiana State Police’s required vetting of operators, personnel and procedures. Casinos in the state are required to set up a lounge limiting access to bettors 21 years or older, plans that also need to be reviewed.
Sports betting was set to go live in the state in September, but delays caused by Hurricane Ida pushed the date back to October. Johns said troopers handling the investigations were reassigned to storm rescue and recovery, but are now back to handling sports betting applications.
According to Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, several of the casinos are ready to go as soon as paperwork is out of the way, further adds the previously cited news source. The Baton Rouge-based organization is the trade association for the 20 brick and mortar establishments licensed to operate casinos by the state.
Duty says wagers will initially be taken in temporary sportsbook lounges inside the venues, as several casinos build multi-million dollar facilities expected to open in a longer-term. Each casino will contract with two providers to handle geofencing, software and other equipment for betting on mobile and online, but unlike casinos, the contractors need a more time-consuming full review. Mobile wagering is expected to take more weeks to go live.
In addition, state regulations authorize Louisiana Lottery Corp. to oversee sports betting kiosks within bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, but these rules are still being worked on and are expected to be up and running in January next year or later.
Meanwhile, sports betting in the state kicked off at Paragon Casino Resort, through a partnership with Betfred Sports. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe-owned property opened its sportsbook lounge last Wednesday, as Joe Horn, retired New Orleans Saints wide receiver, placed the first bet.
Paragon, as well as four other Louisiana tribally-owned casinos, is licensed by the federal government, thus not regulated by the state. State-licensed casinos must wait for the State Gaming Control Board.
Louisiana is the home of almost 5 million people, 2 major league teams, and thousands of sports fans. Gambling is expected to contribute $644.2 million in revenues, without including sports betting proceeds, to this fiscal year’s budget. Behind income and sales taxes, gambling is the largest contributor to the state’s $9.9 billion general fund.