Louisiana has become the latest US state to launch legal mobile sports betting, with operators set to go live on January 28.
Many of those operators are currently unlicensed, and online betting was legalised in November 2020. This decision was taken following a parish-by-parish referendum in the state.
The market launch was actually postponed, thanks to a quirk of local legislation in Louisiana. The states’ legislature can only pass laws relating to taxation in an odd-numbered year. This meant waiting until 2021 until the relevant legislation could be passed.
The new regulations were eventually signed into law in June 2021, as lawmakers had to wait until then before they could pass legislation to tax the sports betting vertical. Louisiana legislators approved two sports betting wagering bills in June 2021. Governor John Bel Edwards signed them into law with great alacrity.
Louisiana betting taxes set in place
The law set the tax rates for both retail and online sports betting. Retail betting revenues will be taxed at 10% and online sports betting at 15%. The revenue from the betting taxes will be divided up, with 60% going to the state’s general fund, and 25% to early education.
Another 12% will go to the parishes in Louisiana, with a further 2% being awarded to programmes that offer support around the issue of gambling addiction. Finally, 1% will be awarded to a sports wagering purse fund for horse racing.
Retail betting had already started in the state, with several operators offering in-person betting in October 2021. That was when Betfred Sports launched their retail services in partnership with Paragon Casino Resort.
Caesars joined them soon afterwards, when they launched in-person wagering at their Harrah’s New Orleans and Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel & Casino properties.
BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings and FanDuel have confirmed that they are ready to go when January 28 dawns in Louisiana.
It is important to note, however, that sports betting is not legalised in every parish in the state of Louisiana. Residents of Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Sabine, Union, West Carroll and Winn will therefore need to do their virtual sports betting and other wagering activities in other parts of the state.
Significantly, a sports betting ban on interstate collegiate programmes was not included in the new legislation.
20 sports betting licences in Louisiana
Louisiana has allowed 20 sports betting licenses. There is one licence each for the state’s 15 riverboat casinos and one land-based casino, as well as for the four-horse racing tracks (known as racinos in Louisiana).
Each license includes two mobile licences, something that means there is a possibility there could be 41 ‘skins’ for Louisiana online sports betting. Each agency that has applied for a sports betting licence is also required to construct a retail betting facility in order to be eligible to be licensed for online wagering.
BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt is among those in the betting industry who believe that sports wagering in Louisiana will prove to be a hugely successful venture.
“We thank both the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana State Police and look forward to parlaying BetMGM’s success in neighboring regions into a long, successful, and responsible relationship with sports fans in the state,” he said.