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Louisiana Sports Betting Licenses
The first retail sportsbook opened in early October 2021 at a tribal-owned casino, with commercial casinos following later in the month. Online sports betting launched on Jan. 28, 2022, with Caesars, BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Louisiana's state gaming control board issued sports betting licenses to eight casinos in the state. Sports betting began Sunday, Oct. 31 at Harrah’s in New Orleans and Horseshoe in Shreveport.
It began Nov. 1 for L'Auberge in Baton Rouge and Nov. 2nd for Boomtown in Harvey. Four additional casinos had their licenses granted on the following Monday.
Those casinos include L'Auberge and Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, and Boomtown and Margaritaville in Bossier. A total of 10 applied for licenses statewide. Five other casinos across the state have until the end of the year to apply for a license for sports betting, and all have indicated they will meet that deadline, according to Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns.
This means you will be able to go into any of these casinos and place bets on your favorite sports teams, just like in Las Vegas.
As for online sports betting, it was up live and operating around early to mid-January in time for the NFL playoffs. Not every parish in the state-approved online sports betting, but all parishes in Southeast Louisiana voted to approve online sports betting.
Though Louisiana voters in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes technically approved sports betting on a 2020 ballot referendum, legal betting only began the following year. The referendum required follow-up legislation to determine licensing requirements, betting eligibility and a host of other key measures. After Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the legislation into law in June, it still required additional regulations under the purview of the gaming control board and its law enforcement division.
Regulators finalized the rulemaking process, then approved “emergency” amendments a month before launching. The 20 gaming facilities allowed to partner with online and retail sportsbook operators under the 2021 law are now in operation.
The 2021 sports betting bill signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards allows 20 sportsbook licenses for in-person and mobile betting. The law calls for each licensee, plus the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, to offer up to two mobile platforms (often referred to as “skins”), for a potential total of 41 skins on which to make an online wager.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board initially set a goal of launching on Oct. 1 2021, but the massive damages left by Hurricane Ida in August delayed the launch. Mobile betting launched in Louisiana on Jan. 28 2022. This law goes into effect in the 55 parishes that authorized sports betting by referendum last year. Gov. Edwards signed off on the regulatory framework in Senate Bill 247 and related tax and licensing rules in House Bill 697 in June, allowing both laws to take effect at the beginning of July 2021.
Fifteen riverboat casinos, four racinos, and Harrah’s Casino New Orleans were given a chance to apply for the licenses first. All remaining licenses were then made available to the state’s licensed video poker sites and fantasy sports contest operators. The LGCB approves all licenses and is responsible for the regulation of the industry in Louisiana.
In addition to a mobile sportsbook, the Louisiana Lottery Corporation will be able to place betting kiosks at bars and restaurants with a Class-A liquor license.
In a move that got the sports betting launch process going more quickly, Ronnie Johns resigned from the state Senate to accept Gov. Edwards’ appointment to lead the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the regulatory body that must implement sports betting rules, removing an obstacle to the industry’s launch in the state.
Gambling through state-regulated and monitored websites and mobile gambling apps is the safe way to bet online in Louisiana. Legal retail and mobile online gambling operators are regulated or monitored by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. It is not considered safe to bet with or share personal or financial information with non-regulated online sportsbooks, offshore books, or those affiliated with neighborhood bookies.
Licensing, Fees, and Taxes
Under House Bill 697, the initial application fee for one of the 20 licenses to offer sports wagering is $250,000, and licensees will also be charged a license fee of $500,000 every five years. The initial application fee for a sports wagering platform provider permit is $100,000, and the permit fee payable by sports wagering platform providers is $250,000 every five years.
House Bill 697 sets lower application and permit fees payable by sports wagering service providers and sports wagering distributors. A sports wagering service provider is defined in House Bill 697 as a suitable entity that contracts with a licensee to provide support services in connection with the licensee’s sportsbook, and a sports wagering distributor is defined as a suitable entity that markets, buys, sells, leases, services, or repairs sports wagering equipment. The application fee for a sports wagering service provider permit is $10,000, and the permit fee is $12,500 every five years. The application fee for a sports wagering distributor permit is $5,000, and the permit fee is $2,500 every five years.
House Bill 697 also imposes a 10% tax on all bets placed by patrons who are on-site at a licensee’s facility and a 15% tax on all bets placed online.