Louisiana was planning to join the group of states with legal sports betting today, October 1. But the entire process was slowed when Hurricane Ida tore through the Bayou State at the tail end of August.

According to Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns, devastation and contingencies from the hurricane set the entire launch process back two weeks. Now, he is hopeful the first legal bets can be taken by mid-October.

In-Person Louisiana Sports Betting Will Start First

The Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division finalized its rules and regulations for sports betting on September 16. So far, 13 of the state’s casinos, racinos, or riverboats have applied for sportsbook licenses.

Louisiana State Capitol
Lawmakers at the State Capitol passed Louisiana sportsbook rules.

Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved allowing regulated sports betting during the November 2020 election. The plan approved by residents called for both retail sportsbooks and mobile wagering. Peculiarly, Louisiana allowed local parishes to reject sports betting, essentially opting out of the new rules. However, 55 of the state’s 64 parishes (containing the vast majority of the state’s residents) approved the measure.

Though voters called for both retail and online wagering, in-person sportsbooks will launch first. Temporary licenses could be issued by regulators for casinos ranging from the downtown New Orleans Harrah’s to smaller riverboat locations.

Each licensed sportsbook will need to build a separate, dedicated facility for betting, though the temporary licenses coming soon will allow workarounds.

Still Unclear When Mobile Wagering Will Launch

Right now, Louisiana’s regulators are focused on issuing at least the first batch of retail sportsbook licenses. According to Chairman Johns, it will be at least a couple months before the parishes that approved wagering but do not have a casino within their borders will see online and mobile betting.

Caesars Superdome in New Orleans
Caesars buying the naming rights to the Superdome demonstrates their plan to be a big player. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

Each of the physical sportsbook licenses come with up to two skins for online betting operations. The mobile operators will need to partner with an existing casino location and pass background and due diligence checks by the Gaming Enforcement Division.

There are up to 20 licenses available for retail sportsbooks in Louisiana. Therefore, up to 40 different mobile operators could compete in Louisiana’s sports betting market. It is unlikely that the theoretical maximum number of operators will ever exist.

Additionally, the Louisiana Lottery Corporation will be granted its own online operator’s license. According to lottery officials, their mobile operations probably will not launch until 2022.

For now, the likely biggest player in Louisiana sports betting is Caesars Entertainment. Between the planned rebranding of Harrah’s New Orleans and the purchase of the naming rights for the Superdome, Caesars is positioning itself to be a key player in Louisiana.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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