Sports wagering is coming to Louisiana – most likely in 2022. Late last year, voters in the majority of Louisiana parishes voted to legalize sports betting in their areas. As of July 2021, it’s down to the state government to finalize the industry by releasing rules and regulations.
There are no legal retail or online sportsbooks available yet. Once sports betting is live in the state, though, Louisiana bettors can expect a robust and competitive marketplace, with online and mobile sportsbooks, retail betting shops, and kiosks in bars and restaurants all taking action.
Our analysis estimates sports betting revenue in Louisiana to reach $219 million annually, $175 million from mobile and online handle.
Let’s break down the status of Louisiana’s sports betting scene as it currently stands.
History Of Gambling And Sports Betting In Louisiana
Although legal sports betting is taking a while to get off the ground, other forms of gambling have been available in the Pelican State for quite some time. For example, there are nearly 20 riverboat casinos, several tribal casinos, and Harrah’s New Orleans, in addition to hundreds of different locations where you can enjoy video poker, a variety of horse race tracks where you can place bets, plus off-track betting parlors and a state lottery.
Gambling in Louisiana started in the 1700s, before it was even a state. More recently, 1940 saw the creation of the Louisiana Racing Commission, which authorized pari-mutuel horse racing in the state that has remained to this day.
A state lottery and riverboat casinos began in the 1990s. There are currently almost two dozen live commercial casinos throughout Louisiana, most of them on riverboats. The riverboats aren’t required to sail on their host rivers to offer gambling activities. This gets around legislation that would otherwise outlaw traditional casino activities, like slot games.
Additionally, there are four tribal casinos on reservation lands. New Orleans holds the state’s only official land-based commercial casino that isn’t on a riverboat.
Sports wagering legalization began expanding beyond Nevada with a 2018 decision by the Supreme Court which deemed PASPA unconstitutional. Since then, Louisiana lawmakers have been pushing for legalization, and the November 2020 ballot gave voters a chance to decide for themselves.
Louisiana Sports Betting: What To Watch
Before legal sports betting goes live in the state, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which oversees most gambling in the state, needs to implement rules that will regulate the activity.
As we get closer to launch, pay attention to casinos and race tracks as they partner with mobile sportsbook operators like DraftKings and FanDuel. The state will issue 20 sportsbook licenses, with those entities having right of first refusal, and each license will be allowed to issue two “skins” to mobile sportsbook operators. A 41st skin is expected to be awarded to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.
More good news for bettors, they’ll be able to register for betting accounts either online or in-person.
As of now, no sportsbook operators have announced a partnership deal or licensure application. The sports betting bill sponsored by Rep. John Stefanski (SB130) and signed into law in June by Gov. John Bel Edwards calls for a $250,000 application fee and a $500,000 license fee that covers five years.
Timeline Of Louisiana’s Gambling History
- The Louisiana state government bans gambling, although New Orleans remains a haven for gambling activities like poker and other card games
- 1940 – The Louisiana legislature votes to create the Louisiana Racing Commission, which legalizes pari-mutuel racing at race tracks, plus the construction of off-track betting parlors. Racetracks open over the coming decades, such as Evangeline Downs in 1966 and Louisiana Downs in 1974
- 1993 – The state lottery is reintroduced after over a century (it was previously started in the 1800s but was later banned). The Louisiana legislature also authorizes the construction and operation of special riverboat casinos, a law that initially requires the boats to be sailing while gambling takes place
- 1993 – The state’s first tribal and land-based casino, called the Cypress Pines Casino, launches in Charenton
- 1995 – The above-mentioned rule requiring riverboat casinos to be sailing to offer gambling activities is repealed. After this point, riverboat casinos are allowed to provide slot and other gaming activities on their premises even when docked
- 2020 – The Louisiana legislature passes SB 130, which allows the question of legal sports wagering to be placed on the November 2020 ballot. Voters then vote to legalize sports wagering in 55 of 64 parishes in Louisiana
Louisiana Sportsbooks – Coming Soon
We can’t know for sure which sportsbooks will come to Louisiana when the industry launches. But the below five sportsbooks are likely contenders for licensure, largely due to their history or pre-existing deals with casino organizations.
BetMGM is a rapidly growing sportsbook and already popular in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It’s a great pick for new and experienced bettors, offering a risk-free bet of up to $1000 and diverse betting markets for players of all stripes.
FanDuel already offers daily fantasy sports in Louisiana and has an existing deal with Boyd Gaming, a company that owns three of the riverboat casinos in Louisiana. FanDuel may be Boyd’s choice gaming brand once the industry launches.
Caesars Entertainment completed its $3.7 billion acquisition of U.K.-based bookmaker William Hill in April 2021 and in August 2021, rebranded as “Caesars Sportsbook” for the merged companies’ mobile sports betting platforms. Caesars owns several casinos in Louisiana, operates Harrah’s New Orleans, and has naming rights to the Superdome. The company figures to have a major presence on Louisiana’s sports betting landscape and said its mobile app will be live in Louisiana pending regulatory approval.
BetRivers is a growing sportsbook provider that already has operations in states like Colorado and Michigan. It offers an excellent opening bonus, a well-optimized mobile betting platform, and player-friendly betting odds.
DraftKings also already provides daily fantasy sports in this state. Although it doesn’t have any inroads into this state yet, this operator has been one of the first to launch in other states with new sports wagering industries.
Louisiana Gambling FAQ
Yes, at licensed riverboat casinos, Native American casino locations, and Harrah’s New Orleans.
You have to be 21 years of age or older to participate in any gambling activity in Louisiana.
Technically, yes. But there are no licensed mobile sportsbooks to enjoy right now. You can place online horse race bets, however, using apps like TVG.
Yes. The lottery can be played in person or by purchasing tickets at licensed locations.
Yes. The casinos are well-staffed, operate securely, and have been running for many decades.
Absolutely. Casino loyalty programs reward you with brand credit, special gift cards, and more.
Most of the casinos in Louisiana are run by commercial enterprises. These include the famous riverboat casinos that are, in most cases, docked at certain towns year-round. Four casinos are owned by Native American tribes, and Harrah’s New Orleans is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Caesars Entertainment.
Yes. Casino game winnings in Louisiana are taxed at a rate of 21.5%.