Louisiana Sports Betting Kicks Off At One Tribal Casino But Many More On The Way

Posted By Derek Helling on October 8, 2021

Louisiana sports betting has gone from a ballot initiative to reality within a year’s time. Although it’s currently restricted to in-person wagering at one tribal casino, that shouldn’t be the only option for Louisianans much longer.

Retail betting at racetracks, riverboat casinos, and the state’s lone land-based casino is imminent. Online platforms available throughout the 55 affirming parishes and betting kiosks at smaller businesses in the same parishes should follow. It all adds up to a snapshot of the current state of legal wagering in LA, which is fuzzy in some parts.

Louisiana sports betting is now live on a limited basis

If you want to get a bet down right now without leaving the state, the Paragon Casino Resort is your destination. That casino near Marksville started accepting in-person wagers at its Betfred Sportsbook as of Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Currently, that’s the only legal option for bettors without leaving LA. More retail wagering platforms could be available within the next few weeks, however. Eligible gaming facilities have already applied for licenses.

While Hurricane Ida temporarily delayed the licensing process, LA Gaming Control Board Chair Ronnie Johns hopes to have some news to report on licenses for commercial operators “soon.”

Originally, the Board hoped to authorize its first set of licenses by Oct. 1. Those pending licenses likely only authorize betting at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, and that at the state’s licensed gambling locations.

That means the state’s racetracks and riverboat casinos plus Harrah’s New Orleans might soon be joining the Paragon. It would mean a great expansion of legal options for LA residents.

Where might other retail sportsbooks open soon?

Harrah’s New Orleans, which is undergoing a rebrand to become Caesars New Orleans, will soon bring a retail sportsbook on land to the state’s most populous city. Other venues that could soon launch in-person wagering are:

  • Amelia Belle – Amelia
  • Belle of Baton Rouge
  • Boomtown Bossier City
  • Boomtown New Orleans
  • Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino Hotel – Vinton
  • Eldorado Shreveport
  • Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino – Opelousas
  • Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots – New Orleans
  • Golden Nugget Lake Charles
  • Harrah’s Louisiana Downs – Bossier City
  • Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge
  • Horseshoe Bossier City
  • Isle of Capri Casino Lake Charles
  • L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles
  • L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge
  • Sam’s Town Shreveport
  • Treasure Chest Casino – Kenner

There are three other tribal casinos within the borders of LA besides the Paragon. It’s unknown right now whether any of them plan to offer sports betting. The terms of their compacts, not state law, govern that.

The law also allows for smaller businesses like bars and restaurants to house betting kiosks with the appropriate license. That’s likely the most far-off concern for regulators right now, though.

What about online sports betting in Louisiana?

Many LA residents might be more interested in online betting. That’s unlikely to launch this year. However, it could feature a great number of choices at maturity.

The law in LA allows each racetrack, riverboat casino, and Caesars New Orleans two managed service providers, or “skins.” Additionally, the Louisiana Lottery can choose to offer online wagering on sporting events with a skin of its own as well.

That means Louisianans in the appropriate parishes could someday choose from dozens of different online sportsbooks. However, those won’t be fully available everywhere in the state.

Nine parishes voted to keep sports wagering illegal within their borders last November. Those are:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • Lafourche
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

Additionally, online sportsbooks will have to geofence out sovereign tribal lands within the state’s borders. Tribal gaming entities will have exclusivity for online gambling in those areas.

That means bettors on Tunica-Biloxi territory will someday have access to Betfred’s online sportsbook. Several other brands have a path into LA as well.

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Which sports betting apps are coming to LA?

The entire picture here isn’t finished yet. Not all future license holders have delved out all of their skins, for one thing. Also, we don’t yet know whether the other tribal operators will sign their own deals of this kind.

However, several brands already have made deals to get into Louisiana or already have a foothold through the management of a casino or racino. The list includes many of the most popular brands in other parts of the country.

Caesars and Penn National own the largest swaths of gambling facilities in LA, counting seven properties between those two brands. That should not only assure a path into the state for Barstool Sportsbook and Caesars Sportsbook but give them plenty of skins to dole out to competitors.

Caesars has already begun to do that, making a market access deal with WynnBet Sportsbook. Another gambling company that has multiple LA properties is Boyd Gaming. In most other states with legal sports betting, Boyd partners with FanDuel Sportsbook.

Thus, it seems likely there will be at least one online skin for FanDuel in LA. Bally runs the Eldorado Shreveport, meaning Bally Bet should someday be available.

Churchill Downs owns the Fair Grounds Race Course, which signals entry for TwinSpires Sportsbook. A real wildcard here is Gaming & Leisure Properties, which owns the Hollywood Baton Rouge. GLP has other facilities in several other states and partners with different sportsbooks across the nation.

Finally, Rush Street Interactive has secured entry into LA through investment in Boom Technologies. Boom provides gaming platforms to multiple LA casinos. That likely means BetRivers Sportsbook is coming to LA.

There should be plenty of space to get in on Louisiana sports betting for other brands like DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet Sportsbook. They just haven’t announced deals yet.

So when might other Louisiana sportsbooks go live?

All of the possibilities beyond the Paragon’s retail book are pending regulatory approval. As previously mentioned, that could come any day for in-person wagering at casinos and racinos.

License issuance wouldn’t necessarily mean the casinos and racinos would be ready to start taking bets that same day, however. Additionally, they may not all be ready to do so at the same time.

Online platforms could be months behind according to Johns. A better hope on that end is for the first apps to go live in the appropriate parts of LA by the next round of NFL playoffs.

In the same way, that launch might not all happen simultaneously. Some apps could be available for Louisiana sports betting sooner than others.

Right now, the Paragon is open for business. Other parties in the state are awaiting word from regulators. The important fact, however, is that Louisiana sports betting has begun.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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