Louisiana Casinos Apply for Sports-Wagering Licenses as Kick-Off Date Approaches

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Thirteen commercial casinos have applied for sports-wagering licenses across Louisiana. This could put wagers just weeks away from being able to place a bet in person on live athletic events at most casino betting sites.

According to The Advocate newspaper, Louisiana Gaming Control Board chairman Ronnie Johns has the power to approve temporary certificates permitting sportsbooks to start operating inside casinos right away. The use of computers and smartphones to place bets will take longer to become effective and running.

Johns told the newspaper he doubts he will have to sign any temporary sportsbook waivers in the coming two weeks. He said he is expecting licensing recommendations very soon from the Louisiana State Police.

The next Control Board sitting is October 21

According to the newspaper, the State Police is leading suitability studies on the wagering halls that have applied for sports-wagering licenses. This process was delayed when police officers were assigned to help in recovery efforts following the damages from Hurricane Ida in late August.

Until now, the state has issued licenses to 20 Louisiana casinos rendering Las Vegas-style games. These include one land-based casino in New Orleans, 13 riverboat casinos, and four racinos, race track with slot machines.

Two additional facilities are licensed, though they are not open this year. A riverboat casino destroyed during a 2020 hurricane in Lake Charles plans to reopen as a land-based resort next year.

Another riverboat casino in Bossier City has been closed. In December, the owners plan to pass on that license to a casino project near Slidell, awaiting a regional public poll.

Smartphone betting to wait longer

This summer, Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed legislation allowing sports wagering in the 55 of 64 parishes that passed it in a November 2020 statewide election. However, sports wagering will be operational after the Control Board approves casinos that clear the investigation process.

The new law also allows wagers to use mobile devices in betting on sporting events. Each of the state’s 20 licensed casinos will be allowed to partner with two firms that provide websites and applications for placing computer and smartphone bets.

The vetting process will take longer for mobile betting than for on-site casino sportsbooks. The state’s casinos were already vetted during the first licensing. The state police are working to make sure the sportsbooks at these casinos are ready to run in acceptance of the law.

The mobile sports-wagering firms still require to undergo a complete state review. Johns recently stated he anticipates some mobile approval will happen in a few months.

In addition, the law allows wagers to utilize kiosks to place bets in taverns and restaurants that serve liquor. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation is managing the kiosk vetting process and hopes to get it finished by January.

If mobile sports wagering is approved, Louisiana will get a head start in the region on that kind of betting.

Paragon starts sports wagering

The first legal sports bet was placed last week in Louisiana in a sportsbook at Paragon Resort. The casino is on tribal territory near Marksville, approximately 90 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, the capital city.

Long-time NFL wide receiver Joe Horn placed the first bet. His bet was a long-odds seven-team risk. Horn has to win all seven games on the betting slip to be paid by the sportsbook.

Paragon, owned by a Louisiana Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, is one of the five casinos that Native American tribes operate in Louisiana.

Approved under a federal compact, these casinos are not overseen by the state and do not pay taxes. They are allowed to offer casino games that are legal in Louisiana.