The history of Louisiana’s casino industry has roots dating all the way back to the 1750s when the state held its first government-run lottery. Naturally, gambling in Louisiana has evolved over the past 250+ years, and it’s close to taking yet another monumental step forward as sports gambling prepares to enter the fray.
What’s next for gambling and the casino industry in the Bayou State? When are these changes going to occur?
History of Gambling in Louisiana
During the late 18th century and early 19th century, Louisiana was said to have more casinos than anywhere else in the country. In 1813, however, casinos were banned across the state, except in New Orleans.
In 1866, Louisiana banned casinos in New Orleans, while simultaneously introducing a popular state-wide lottery, which lasted until 1893.
Horseracing made a comeback in Louisiana in the 1920s, making the state a popular destination for those who wanted to wager on live horse races.
After the economic impact of gambling in the state was made clear, Gov. Buddy Roemer legalized the lottery, riverboats, and video poker in 1990. Riverboat casinos traveled two-hour routes and were intended to limit the amount of gambling done on land in Louisiana. In 1992, Gov. Edwin Edwards doubled down, legalizing land casinos in New Orleans.
Since then land-based casinos have returned, and the business is once again flourishing. Today, there are 24 legally-operating casinos in the state.
Sports Betting in Louisiana
While sports gambling has been legalized in the state, the process of bringing retail locations and online sportsbooks to Louisiana has only just begun.
On Oct. 6, 2021, the first retail sportsbook location was established in Louisiana at the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville, which partnered with sportsbook operator Betfred. Former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn was in attendance and placed the first legal sports bet in the state.
More sportsbooks were not far behind. Four commercial casinos were awarded retail sports betting licenses and began accepting bets on or shortly after Halloween.
More casinos are expected to add retail sports betting to their offerings, and when online sportsbooks launch likely later in 2021, the market will truly start to take off. In September, Caesars and the LSU Tigers reached a partnership agreement. It was the first of its kind for an SEC program.
Several operators, including Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings have also begun allowing Louisiana residents to download their sportsbooks and sign-up for pre-launch bonus offers, though they won’t be given the green light to place wagers just yet.
As of Oct. 22, however, daily fantasy sports are available on FanDuel’s app.
What’s Next for Sports Betting in Louisiana?
The flood gates are opening, and bettors are already taking advantage of the open retail locations. Once these locations have established themselves, another wave will hit when online sportsbooks become available.
The sports betting industry in Louisiana is gearing up for what could be a massive surge once all facets of the industry come into play.