Louisiana Sports Betting

Legal online sports betting and mobile apps in LA

Sports betting became officially legal in Louisiana on June 21, 2021 with Gov. John Bel Edwards signing the final pieces of legislation into law.

Now the states begins the process of setting up a legal market in time, it hopes for 2021 NFL betting.

This should go well. Louisiana is a hotbed for sports. There are the LSU Tigers, there’s the Superdome hosting Super Bowls and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and, of course, the Saints. Louisiana is also home to hundreds of gambling locations, including casinos, video poker lounges, racetracks and off-track betting venues.

Latest Updates

UPDATED: July 15, 2021

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board issued a daily fantasy sports license to DraftKings, the first to be allocated in the state.

This fulfills the prediction of Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division who said daily fantasy sports, which was approved in 47 parishes in 2018 would “definitely happen before the fall, as long as my investigators are getting all the documentation and paperwork they need.”

Stacie Stern, governmental affairs director at FanDuel, confirmed that her company is working through processes with the Louisiana Gaming Board to be ready for that launch.

Louisiana becomes DraftKings’ 44th state of operation.

Gov. Edwards signs sports betting into law

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the final two of three Louisiana sports betting bills – the regulatory and appropriation pieces – to establish the infrastructure for the new market, but a launch could be delayed because the state lacks a gambling regulatory chief.

Former Gaming Control Board chairman Mike Noel left the position on June 9 rather than face a State Senate confirmation hearing. He would have likely been questioned about his tenure at the State Police when a Black man died in a case still under investigation.

Local politicians warn that because the Control Board is currently unable to promulgate rules, a sports betting launch before the Super Bowl is now in jeopardy. Edwards can appoint a new chairman.

The governor’s signature capped off the legislative process for sports betting in Louisiana, which voters approved in November 2020. It will be legal in the 55 of 64 parishes that voted in favor of sports betting.

As many as 41 operating licenses will be available in the retail and online market, meaning most of the major national players would be expected to enter.

Senate Bill 247 – which establishes the regulatory structure of sports betting Louisiana – and Senate Bill 142 – which deals with revenue-allocation – were approved by the State Legislature.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has already signed the first of the three sports betting-related bills passed by the state legislature. The new laws would become effective in three weeks with Edwards’ expected signature.

House Bill 697 deals with tax rates, licensing fees and other regulatory details. The law states that retail sports bets would be taxed at 10% and online at 18%. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation is allowed to gain a sports betting partner.

Earlier this week, another bill legalizing online sports betting through as many as 40 operators breezed through the Louisiana House, 78-15, and seems poised to set up a legal wagering market this fall.

The House bill added a few minor amendments that will send it back to the Senate for concurrence. Louisiana sports bettors could be backing LSU and the New Orleans Saints soon.

The Gaming Control Board is already discussing rules and will switch to the application process for operators on July 1.

VSiN broadcasting on Baton Rouge TV station

Baton Rouge ABC affiliate WBRZ-TV inked a sports betting content information deal with the DraftKings-owned VSiN.

The broadcasts will begin this week on the 24-hour news channel and WBRZ Plus, Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?

Yes. Sports betting is legal in Louisian. 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:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • La Salle
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

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.

When will Louisiana sports betting launch?

Our best guess is that sports betting will appear in Louisiana in the fall of 2021. The Louisiana legislative session began in April 2021, and all the state’s business must be concluded in the two-month span of the session.

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.

Importantly, the bills that appear destined to be signed into law include both retail sports betting, and online sports betting.

Under the law, the one land-based casino in Louisiana, 15 riverboat casinos and four horse racing tracks will be allowed to ally with two online sportsbook each.

Is daily fantasy sports legal in Louisana?

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.

What Louisiana gets from legal sports betting

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.

Who will regulate Louisiana sports betting?

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 pari-mutuel 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.

Where will I be able to place legal sports bets in Louisiana?

In the bill expected to be passed and signed by the governor, the one land-based casino in Louisiana, 15 riverboat casinos and four horse racing tracks will be allowed to ally with two online sportsbook each. They could also open a physical sportsbook on site.

In addition to their parimutuel options, Louisiana tracks are allowed to host slot machines onsite. So, it made sense that the legislature would extend the same courtesy to them regarding sports betting. All in all, you are almost certain to find sportsbooks coming to the following locations in the near future:

  • Amelia Belle Casino
  • Belle of Baton Rouge Casino Hotel
  • Boomtown Bossier City Casino
  • Boomtown Casino & Hotel New Orleans
  • Coushatta Casino Resort
  • Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel
  • Eldorado Resort Casino Shreveport
  • Golden Nugget Lake Charles Hotel & Casino
  • Harrah’s Casino New Orleans
  • Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge
  • Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel & Casino
  • Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lake Charles
  • Jena Chocktaw Pines Casino
  • L’auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge
  • L’auberge Casino & Hotel Lake Charles
  • Margaritaville Resort Casino Bossier City
  • Paragon Casino Resort and Hotel
  • Sam’s Town Hotel & Casino
  • Treasure Chest Casino
  • Delta Downs Racetrack
  • Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino
  • Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
  • Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Which online sportsbooks will launch in Louisiana?

Sorting out of regulation 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:

  • FanDuel — FanDuel has an existing deal with Boyd Gaming and has already partnered with Boyd to launch a sportsbook in Illinois. Boyd owns three of the riverboat casinos in Louisiana and will likely want to have a top sportsbook brand to promote them.
  • Barstool Sports — Barstool is basically the home brand for Penn National Gaming sports betting now. Penn National, in turn, owns a whopping six properties in Louisiana. If Penn National offers only one sportsbook in Louisiana, Barstool will be it.
  • PointsBet — The Australian sports betting company has made a big splash in the US in the past few years. Its market access deal with Penn National specifically reserves a spot in Louisiana, and there’s no doubt that the company intends to capitalize on the arrangement.
  • TheScore Bet — A Canadian sportsbook with only a mild presence in the US, theScore nonetheless figures to launch a sportsbook in Louisiana when the time comes. Like PointsBet, the company secured a market access deal with Penn National to operate a sportsbook at one of the six Penn locations in the Pelican State.
  • Golden Nugget — Golden Nugget is one of the lesser sportsbook offerings in the US at this stage of the industry. The company’s online casino is a far bigger success story, comparatively. However, since Golden Nugget Lake Charles is likely the best casino in southeast Louisiana, it figures to add a sportsbook to its portfolio there.
  • William Hill (via Caesars/Eldorado) — Thanks to a series of deals and mergers, sports betting giant William Hill has multiple avenues to open its doors in the Pelican State. William Hill is the exclusive online sportsbook brand for Eldorado Resorts, which (unsurprisingly) owns the Eldorado in Shreveport. However, Eldorado also merged with Caesars Entertainment in 2020, and Caesars itself owns three of Louisiana’s casinos.
  • DraftKings — DraftKings does not have an immediate inroad to the market in Louisiana — its deal with Penn National did not include access to the Pelican State. However, given the company’s penchant for being one of the first to market in most states, it’s unlikely to stay on the sidelines for long. Either it will negotiate an extra allowance from Penn National, or it may approach one of the tribal casinos about a deal. Either way, don’t expect to see online sports betting in Louisiana go for long without DraftKings.

How do I begin betting on Louisiana sports?

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.

Registering for a new account

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:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Social Security number (last four digits)

Of course, those signing up for online wagering will need to create usernames and passwords that allow them to access their accounts.

Making deposits and withdrawing from 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:

  • Online bank transfers, which are similar to online bill pay
  • Wire transfers
  • Electronic checks
  • Prepaid cards
  • Electronic wallets such as PayPal
  • Cash at the land-based casino cage
  • Checks or money orders

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.

Withdrawing from LA sportsbooks

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:

  • Online bank transfers
  • Wire transfers
  • Electronic checks
  • Prepaid cards
  • Electronic wallets
  • Cash at the land-based casino cage

Will I have to be in Louisiana to bet online?

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.

Betting on pro and college teams in Louisiana

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:

  • New Orleans Pelicans (NBA)
  • New Orleans Saints (NFL)
  • LSU (SEC)
  • Louisiana Tech (C-USA)
  • Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt)
  • Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt)
  • Tulane (AAC)
  • McNeese State (Southland)
  • Grambling State (SWAC)
  • Southern (SWAC)
  • Southeastern Louisiana (Southland)
  • Northwestern State (Southland)

What types of sports bets will be available in Louisiana?

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:

  • Moneylines — A wager about which team will win the game, regardless of anything else. Payouts vary according to which team is the favorite and which is the underdog. Since the favorite will win more often, a bet on that side pays less. Moneylines are recognizable by their three-digit payout number next to each team’s name. Usually, one number will be positive (the underdog), and the other will be negative (the favorite).
  • Point spreads — The sportsbook estimates the eventual margin of victory, and you bet whether the favorite will exceed that estimate, or the underdog will lose by fewer points than the given mark. A favorite that exceeds the spread is said to have “beaten” the spread, while an underdog that loses by fewer has “covered” it. An underdog that wins the game outright automatically covers the spread. These wagers typically pay even money minus the sportsbook’s premium (aka, the vig).
  • Totals — A totals bet is also known as an over/under due to its format. The sportsbook estimates a combined point total for the game, and you choose whether the actual total will be over or under the estimate. The estimate itself is usually called the “over/under” and can serve as a shorthand way to refer to the number of times an event will occur. These bets pay similarly to point spreads.
  • Futures — These wagers pertain to long-term results of seasons or full tournaments. Any bets on the eventual champion or winner of an award are futures bets. Because their outcomes bear so much uncertainty, it is common for every option in a futures wager to be a long shot and display a positive moneyline figure as its payout ratio.
  • Propositions — Propositions, or prop bets, are wagers about events that don’t (usually) include the outcome of the game or match. Instead, they ask questions about statistics and other ancillary data generated over the course of the game. Most unusual bets or wagers that are the subjects of stories are prop bets.
  • Parlays — Parlays are combination wagers that fold several bets into a single Frankenstein’s monster of a bet. Each constituent bet in a parlay is called a “leg,” and they can be almost any type of wager described above. Parlays are high-risk endeavors because it is necessary that each leg be correct in order for the parlay to pay out. The more legs in a parlay, the higher the risk of failure. However, parlays can also be high-reward wagers, since they are such long shots. Big parlay winners are often newsworthy because of how unlikely they are.

Louisiana sports betting history

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.

  • 1998 — At this point, Louisiana’s casino offerings are just getting their feet underneath them. Obviously, the riverboat casinos, as commercial properties, are subject to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is the official name for the federal ban on sports betting. However, lawmakers in the state are apparently concerned about being caught unprepared if tribal casinos are permitted to offer sports betting. They propose no fewer than eight legislative measures relating to the taxation of sports betting. However, none of them make it very far in the process, so it seems that it wasn’t that big of a deal in the end.
  • 2000State Rep. Robert “Bobby” Faucheux Jr. takes another run at the tribal casino taxation issue during this legislative session. HB12 “provides for the taxation of certain activities on Indian reservations.” It goes on to list sports betting as one of the activities defined by the word “game” in the text of the bill. Like its roster of predecessors from 1998, the bill never makes it much farther than the initial stages of consideration.
  • 2018 — The next time that anything meaningful occurs with regard to sports betting is, unsurprisingly, in 2018. New Jersey has already presented its case to the US Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of PASPA, and independent observers of the December 2017 oral arguments indicate that the high court appears to be leaning in favor of the state’s argument that the law represents commandeering and violates the 10th Amendment. In preparation, Louisiana lawmakers propose four measures that would implement sports betting in the state, including two that call for a referendum (which becomes a recurring theme). None of the measures pass, but three are officially considered. Meanwhile, the predictions about PASPA’s demise are proven correct in May.
  • 2019 — With sports betting fully legal and underway in other states, proposals continue to appear on the Louisiana legislative docket. Two more proposals — which both call for a referendum in the parishes — begin to work their way through the state house. Even though support is clearly building for the notion of Louisiana sports betting, both proposals end up going the way of their brethren — dying in committee or stalling out elsewhere.
  • 2020 — This year proves to be the one with the magic. Once again, House and Senate bills debut and attempt to place the question of sports betting on the November referendum. One of them, SB378, makes it all the way through the Senate and reaches the floor debate stage in the House. However, it is SB130 that has the stamina for the final push. After decisive passages in both the Senate (29-8) and House (72-23), the bill proceeds to John Bel Edwards and receives his signature on June 11. Although the bill only put the question on the ballot, it proves to be successful in the vast majority of Louisiana’s parishes in the November election, with 55 of the 64 affirming the idea of sports betting becoming legal and active within their borders.
  • 2021 — However, SB130 is limited only to placing the question on the ballot. Sports betting cannot proceed in Louisiana without further legislation to lay out the taxation structure and regulatory guidelines for the new industry. Because tax bills must come in odd years in Louisiana, 2021 is the first chance that sports betting could show up in the Pelican State. Given that the NFL season begins in August, there is considerable anticipation that the Legislature will make it happen in the first half of 2021.
Bart Shirley Avatar
Written by
Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a senior evergreen content writer for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

View all posts by Bart Shirley
Privacy Policy