Mobile Sports Betting Goes Live in Louisiana

There were some bumps along the way, including a major hurricane in the Gulf Coast Region, but legal mobile sports betting in Louisiana has finally become a reality.

The state was able to get its retail sports betting segment up and running last fall. Online sports betting followed suit with the first mobile bets on Friday, Jan. 28.

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Opening Day in Louisiana

Starting at 8 a.m. CST that Friday morning, six different mobile sportsbook operators started booking online wagers. That illustrious group is made up of US industry heavyweights FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. The other three operators are Barstool Sportsbook, BetRivers and Caesars Sportsbook.

The initial legislative bills approving legal sports betting in the state go back to June of last year. Once signed into law by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, plans for launch got underway.

Under the most optimistic conditions, the target date to go live was Sept. 9. This date was chosen to coincide with the start of the new 2021 NFL regular season. Obviously, things did not go as planned causing numerous delays.

Contributing factors included regulatory issues, geofencing technical difficulties and Hurricane Ida. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board took extraordinary measures to help launch legal retail sports betting through the state’s network of land-based casinos in the late fall of 2021.

Pushing online sports betting off until early 2022, the initial results tied to the retail sports betting handle were strong. With the addition of mobile betting, Louisiana is poised to grow into a major player in the legal US marketplace.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns played an instrumental role in the recent mobile launch. He set Feb. 13 as the drop-dead date to go live and worked hard to beat his own deadline by more than two weeks.

The Louisiana Sports Betting Industry

Louisiana made provisions for 20 sports betting licenses across the state. These covered the state’s 15 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino (Harrah’s New Orleans) and four racinos featuring horse racing tracks.

Each of those sports betting licenses included a provision for up to two mobile operator skins. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation was also awarded a mobile skin to operate an online sports betting platform.

Land-based gaming venues were required to add a retail sportsbook to their facilities as part of the licensing process.

Further industry expansion is tied to retail establishments with a Class-A onsite liquor consumption license. They can offer legal sports betting through the use of in-house kiosks. This part of the state’s legal sports betting industry will be regulated by the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.

The state’s tax rate on retail sports betting revenue has been set at 10%. The rate increases to 15% on all mobile sports betting revenue. Most of that money will be funneled to Louisiana’s general fund.

Tax money will also help support early education, individual parishes, in-state horse racing and responsible gambling programs.

All forms of sports betting will be legal in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes as a result of a voter referendum in November of 2020. However, residents of those nine parishes can legally bet on sports in other parts of the state.

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