The Louisiana Gaming Control Board confirmed on Thursday that eight casinos have applied to offer sports betting in the state, after the approval of emergency rules in August that allowed Louisiana’s Big 20 casinos -on 15 riverboats and at four racetracks, as well as Harrah’s in New Orleans- to file applications for licenses.
The permanent rules have to go through a process that allows for input from opponents and comment for the public. The Gaming Control Board approved on Thursday a set of permanent regulations that spell out the responsibilities and processes that sports betting gambling has to follow. The Board voted to initiate the rulemaking process, which could go on until January.
Industry officials had wanted to roll out in-person wagering at a few locations this month. Hurricane Ida slowed the process down, “as police were deployed to disaster recovery”, explained Ronnie Johns, chairperson of the board, as reported by KTBS.
The 20 casinos and their top executives have already been investigated for suitability and financial stability by the State Police. However, the kick off date for sports betting in the state has not yet been confirmed.
Major Chuck McNeal, command inspector for the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, said his investigators are working on it, as the eight casinos placed their applications.
The procedure implies a double-checking process, such as accounting practices, security arrangements and other formalities the casinos have to adopt for wagering on sports betting, as explained by McNeal.
In addition, the properties have to build out an area with limited access to handle in-person sports betting. Several of the larger casinos are planning elaborate lounges, which multi-million dollar constructions will take place while getting set-up in temporary quarters.
Platform and software suppliers are also necessary in order to allow bettors to place their wagers remotely. Even though online betting is also contemplated to happen in the short term, the industry regulators aim to start with in-person wagering first.
“Online vendors have to go through sustainability and through the licensing process themselves”, explained Johns, which implies the repeated procedure of the current in-person wagering licensing process.
It is unclear which partner online and retail books will open in Louisiana but some of them have already announced market access deals or existing land-based partners, such as:
Other potential sportsbook entrants include BetRivers, FOX Bet and WynnBet.
Betting in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol are contemplated to be handled on about 1,000 kiosks which will be overseen by the Louisiana Lottery Corp. The lottery is autonomous and is making its own rules for sports betting, separated from the gaming commission.