Louisiana is a hotbed for sports. There are the LSU Tigers, the Superdome hosting Super Bowls and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and the Who Dat Saints. Louisiana is also home to hundreds of gambling locations, including casinos, video poker lounges, racetracks and off-track betting venues.
Since sports betting became a possibility for states outside of Nevada in 2018, Louisiana sports betting became a true possibility. In addition, Louisiana’s adjacency to gambling-hostile Texas means that millions of dollars a year could cross into northwest Louisiana and Acadiana in sports wagers. However, the Louisiana Legislature is not known for its speed, and even though voters in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved sports betting in a November 2020 referendum, betting on sports in Louisiana remains inactive due to a lack of tax and regulatory structures.
The good news is that legal sports betting is coming to Louisiana soon. It is only a matter of time — we just don’t know exactly how much time yet. You’re in the right place to find out, though. This page will keep you up to date with information and updates about sports betting in Louisiana.
Yes. Sports betting is legal in Louisiana by virtue of a November 2020 voter referendum. Voters in each parish (analogous to a county in another state) voted on the following question:
“Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in [parish]?”
Sports betting would have become legal if even one of the 64 parishes had received a majority of “yes” votes. As it turned out, voters approved in 55 parishes. Thus, sportsbooks could conceivably appear in the majority of Louisiana’s territory. In fact, none of the nine parishes that voted the measure down contain significant gambling venues or population, and most of them are contiguous parishes in the northeast portion of the state.
The nine parishes that did not support legal sports betting are:
That means gamblers in the Shreveport area or passing through the I-10 corridor will have no shortage of opportunities to place a bet. However, they must still wait a bit to do so. The referendum was limited to the question listed above, and the legalization did not include any kind of tax structure or regulatory program to manage the new industry.
Our best guess is that sports betting will appear in Louisiana sometime in the summer of 2021. The Louisiana legislative session begins in April 2021, and all the state’s business must be concluded in the two-month span of the session.
So far, there have been no bills pre-filed for the upcoming legislative session that address these issues. However, with the NFL season looming in August, there is a considerable motivation to get things moving for sports bettors who want to wager on their Saints. Louisiana lawmakers want sports betting, too … after all, more gambling means more money in the state coffers.
Now, it’s important to understand that the launch we’re describing is retail sports betting, not online sports betting. Unfortunately, it seems that separate legislation will be necessary to enable betting on sporting events through computers and mobile devices in Louisiana. When or if that will occur remains unclear.
However, the good news is that most parishes in the state either have or are near to casinos. Casinos will certainly be designated as sportsbook locations when the rules are finalized, so there should be plenty of convenient options to place a bet.
Yes, but it’s complicated. DFS is usually a sort of “gateway drug” for online gambling in the state. In other words, most states’ first foray into online gambling is daily fantasy sports. Louisiana is making its way to legal DFS, but slowly. The daily fantasy sports law for the Pelican State has been on the books since 2018, but no companies are active yet due to the complicated situation with taxing and regulating it. In short, DFS should be coming to Louisianans shortly, but it has taken longer than it should.
For instance, the law (HB 357) requires each parish to vote individually on whether to allow daily fantasy sports. With 17 of the 64 parishes voting the measure down, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel have to demonstrate that they can exclude players from those 17 parishes from participating. Louisiana is also still working out taxation and regulation for the DFS sites. However, regulators in Louisiana began accepting applications in 2021. Fingers crossed, Louisianans can play DFS soon. It’s a form of online gambling in Louisiana that has yet to really make its mark.
Money. No matter which source you use, Louisiana is consistently one of the poorest states in the US. Its low median household income level means that tax revenues remain low and state services are perpetually stretched thin. After the nasty combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and a succession of hurricanes struck the Pelican State in 2020, things are particularly dire right now. Budget forecasts predict that Louisiana’s government will be navigating a deficit of nearly $1 billion during the 2021 legislative session.
Now, on the one hand, expanding gambling of any kind can be perceived as a callous money making maneuver on the part of a state government. Louisiana residents have enough trouble without losing money to the sportsbooks and the state on New Orleans Saints games. However, because so much money comes from out-of-state gamblers — particularly Texans — lawmakers could believe that adding sports betting will infuse more revenue into the budget. They’re probably correct in that belief, to be honest. Texans love to gamble out of state.
Although the rules and tax rates for Louisiana sports betting are still up in the air, it is almost certain that the designated regulatory body will be the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The LGCB oversees most of the myriad types of gambling in the Pelican State, from its casinos to its video poker lounges to the slot machines at its racetracks. The only exceptions to the LGCB’s purview are the Louisiana Lottery and the parimutuel wagering that takes place at racetracks and OTBs in the state, overseen by the Louisiana Racing Commission. Neither of those exceptions seem to be a natural fit to regulate sports betting, so the LGCB is likely in charge.
Because the LGCB will be running Louisiana sports betting, the likely gambling age to place a sports bet will be 21. While you must only be 18 to play the lottery, wager on horse racing or participate in various charitable gaming options, all of the entities that the LGCB oversees require patrons to be 21 or older to play. It stands to reason that sports betting will fall under the same requirement.
To be clear, it isn’t certain yet which types of locations in Louisiana will host retail sportsbooks. We won’t know for sure until we see the rules for the new industry. However, it is difficult to imagine that the casinos in the state will be left off the list. That would mean you are almost certain to find sportsbooks coming to the following locations in the near future:
It is also probable that Louisiana’s horse racing tracks will be permitted to offer sports betting, too. In addition to their parimutuel options, Louisiana tracks are allowed to host slot machines onsite. So, it makes sense that the legislature would extend the same courtesy to them regarding sports betting. However, it is decidedly less likely that each track’s OTB locations will be able to offer sports betting at their properties. All in all, you are almost certain to find sportsbooks coming to the following locations in the near future:
Finally, it seems quite unlikely that the rules will allow for sports betting at either video poker lounges or lottery retailers. There are simply too many of them to manage with any level of responsible oversight. There are more than 1,400 video poker locations in bars, restaurants and truck stops alone, and it doesn’t make any sense to allow the placement of a betting shop at each of those sites. Similarly, allowing lottery retailers to offer sports betting would essentially put a sportsbook in every gas station.
In all, there will probably be roughly two dozen potential sportsbook locations in Louisiana between the casinos and racetracks. Although the tribal casino interests are likely not covered by the Louisiana law itself, they are almost certain to negotiate amendments to their state compacts to offer sports betting, if need be.
First, let’s be clear that online sports betting is not on the table in Louisiana just yet. There is still a mountain of legislation and regulation that must happen before Louisianans and their guests will be able to place sports wagers through their phones and computers. However, we can start to get a sense of what sportsbook brands might show up in the Pelican State by examining what companies are already active there.
Based upon the various casino operations in Louisiana, these are the companies that we judge most likely to show up when and if online sports betting goes live in the state:
Requirements for how and where to sign up for legalized sports betting accounts have yet to be determined, obviously. That said, based on other states, the process has followed a typical pattern.
No matter if bettors are signing up for a new account online or in person, the information they need to provide remains the same. These pieces of information allow operators to confirm identities as well as run background checks to determine if an individual is OK to participate. Here is what you’ll need to provide:
Of course, those signing up for online wagering will need to create usernames and passwords that allow them to access their accounts.
Once an account is created, you will then need to make a deposit in order to place wagers. Typically, sportsbooks offer a variety of methods for funding accounts. The most common are credit and debit cards, such as Visa and Mastercard, and here are some other ways:
Note that not all sportsbooks will offer each option. Additionally, some banks have flagged gambling sites, so when their customers attempt to use credit cards to fund their accounts, select banks decline those transactions.
For good measure, check back with PlayUSA before you submit a deposit to your sportsbook of choice. Not only do we feature bonus offers from sportsbooks, but we also share deals not found anywhere else.
Online sportsbooks usually offer multiple ways for bettors to cash out, though usually fewer than for depositing. As has been the case, many operators prefer to deliver withdrawals via electronic or paper checks. However, several other methods include:
The short answer is that yes, you will have to be inside Louisiana to bet online. However, before we discuss how that will work, it’s important to reiterate that Louisiana does not allow online sports betting just yet. The state is still working to bring retail sportsbooks to life, and online wagering will take more time and legislation to become reality. It’s also not immediately clear if the November 2020 referendum will apply.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the referendum covers both retail and online sports betting in terms of authorization. So, assuming that the 55 parishes are eligible, the sites would have a tricky enforcement task on their hands. To this point, states with online sports betting have issued blanket authorizations across the breadth of their territories. Sports betting is available in every corner of the state.
It is never legal for sports betting to cross state lines. Sportsbooks must employ geolocation software and keep track of where players are physically located. If players cannot verifiably prove they are inside the state in question, the sportsbooks must deny them service or risk sanctions — including fines and licensing issues — from the regulatory body overseeing sports betting in the state. Geolocation verification software is quite adept these days, and can reliably create a virtual fence surrounding the state.
Assuming that the parish-specific infrastructure remains in place for Louisiana, then sites will not just have to confirm players are located in Louisiana. They will also have to make sure that none of the dissenting parishes are allowed access. It is not clear if geolocation software has advanced to this point yet, but it will have to do so if Louisiana is to offer mobile sports betting in a lawful manner. So, Louisiana could end up being a proving ground for the efficacy of geolocation technology.
Of course, none of that matters to you, the sports bettor. The bottom line is that you will have to be inside Louisiana to play, yes, but you will also have to be in an approved parish.
One last thing to mention is the fact that you do not have to be a resident of Louisiana in order to play. Anyone physically inside the borders of an approved parish who is over the age of 21 will be able to play, regardless of where they receive their mail. In fact, we imagine that the participation of visitors to the state will be critical to the long-term success of the industry.
There are many professional and college sports teams with rabid fan bases in Louisiana, to be sure. When sports betting finally comes to the state, bettors will have their pick of those teams’ games to put down their money. However, it is important that you keep in mind the potential restrictions that the Legislature could enact upon sports betting.
For the most part, betting on professional teams is just fine. Louisiana’s two major pro teams, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, will undoubtedly draw a mountain of bets. The only limitations that you might see from regulators would pertain to live, or in game, betting. Because live betting is so new, it causes concern from regulators about its speed and perception of fairness.
These limitations are far more likely with regard to college sports, however. Because college sports are still nominally amateur events and involve student-athletes, legislators are often concerned about the moral hazard that sports betting could potentially bring to their dorm rooms. Proposition betting, and its fast-moving subset, in game wagering, often draw restrictions from regulators.
Some states take things a bit farther. It is not terribly unusual to see all sports betting on in-state college teams prohibited. Needless to say, this rule would be unpopular for LSU fans and other proponents of Louisiana college sports. However, it’s better to know that it is a possibility than to be surprised if it shows up in the rules. At any rate, here are the major sports teams located in Louisiana and their associated leagues or conferences:
As mentioned earlier, sports betting is now a question of when in Louisiana, rather than if. That means that most of the bets you’ve seen elsewhere will make their way to the Pelican State when the time comes. Those types of bets include the following:
Like most states, Louisiana’s history with sports betting is not terribly long. Before 2018, it was not possible for sports betting to take place in any state outside of Nevada (more or less), so there was no sense in attempting to legislate it. However, a review of the legislative sessions from the last 25 years or so does reveal that several state lawmakers made more overtures toward sports betting than the referendum that passed in November 2020.