In-person wagering has already made its way to nine Louisiana casinos, but mobile betting will give bettors the flexibility to bet from their own homes. It should be here soon.
In a conversation with Louisiana Sharp on Nov. 15, Ronnie Johns, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, said the state is aiming to launch online sports betting in early 2022. Specifically, Johns said he hopes the industry can be rolled out in the first week of January.
“That process is going on right now as we speak,” Johns said. “As big as on-property sports betting has been already, online is going to be even bigger.”
Johns said one of the primary aspects of setting up online sports betting in Louisiana is geofencing technology. Geofencing means creating a digital fence around a specific geographic area. Mobile sportsbooks use geofences for two things: Allowing bets in legal areas and blocking bets from illegal areas.
Geofencing is already being used in areas of the country where online betting has been launched. For example, a bettor in Illinois can place a mobile wager, but if they drive across the state border to Missouri, they will no longer be able to place a bet. Conversely, people in Missouri can simply drive across the state border to Illinois to bet on sports on their mobile devices.
The same concept is applied to Louisiana online sports betting. In Louisiana, bettors will have to be in one of the 55 parishes where voters approved sports betting in order to place a mobile wager. No one can place sports wagers from these nine parishes:
- West Carrol
“If you are located in one of those nine parishes and you try to bet on your phone or iPad, it’s not going to work,” Johns said. “You are going to be geofenced out.”
Bettors in those nine parishes would have to drive to a parish that voted yes to legalizing sports betting in order to place a wager.
Making sure that everything is good to go with geofencing is a must before mobile betting can be rolled out.
“We’ve got to make sure the geofencing is working properly,” Johns said. “State police has made it a priority. They know how important it is.”
Louisiana Leads Mississippi
In 2018, Mississippi, Louisiana’s neighbor to the east, became one of the first states to legalize sports betting. The Magnolia State was ahead of the curve at the time, but things have changed over the last few years.
“We’ve lagged behind Mississippi for two years now with sports betting, but we’re actually ahead of the ballgame on Mississippi with online sports betting,” Johns said.
Mississippi does not yet allow mobile betting, and without it, the state is missing out on gambling profits.
Tennessee, Mississippi’s neighbor to the north, launched mobile sports betting in November. Officials with an interest in increasing the amount wagered in Mississippi took notice.
“The Tunica market took an immediate hit of 25% of their local market, and I tell you right now, the numbers for September, 250 million dollars were wagered in the state of Tennessee just in September,” MGM Resorts Southeast Group Vice President and Legal Counsel Anthony Delvescovo said to WLOX in Biloxi.
While Tennessee is eating away at northern Mississippi’s gambling profits, Delvescovo also said that with Louisiana not far behind, southern Mississippi’s betting market could take a hit as well.
“With Louisiana coming on line we can expect the same declines in the river counties, the Gulf Coast counties,” Delvescovo said.
In September, figures from the Mississippi Gaming Commission showed the state saw a 4.9% drop in bets. The drop has state officials considering a change. It will be interesting to see how Mississippi approaches possibly adding mobile sports betting in the coming months.
Mobile sports betting is becoming more popular throughout the country. Louisiana is setting up to be the next state to welcome the industry.
Bettors are already getting in on the action at the various brick-and-mortar casinos in the state. The popularity of sports betting will get a big boost once mobile betting is live. It is certainly an exciting time to be a sports fan on the bayou.