Louisiana executives are targeting early October for sports betting to start running in the state’s casinos. The use of smartphones to place bets will take longer.
Gaming Control Board Chair Ronnie Johns told the USA Today Network hold-ups caused by Hurricane Ida pushed the anticipated September start date back a month.
“We had been projecting late September, but our goal is to have them up and running by October 1.”
This summer, Governor John Bel Edwards (D) appointed johns to steer the nine-member Control Board. Johns has been a Republican state senator from the Lake Charles region, one of the state’s sports betting hubs.
Edwards signed legislation legalizing gambling this summer in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it last year in a referendum. Gambling cannot start until the rules are established to tax and regulate the industry.
The Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division partners with the Control Board to manage the gaming industry and enforce sports betting laws. Recently, every State Police guard was transferred to help with the hurricane, John stated.
“We lost about seven to 10 days, but everything is back on track now.”
On August 29, Hurricane Ida blazed ashore on the Louisiana Gulf Coast south of New Orleans. The destructive Category 4 hurricane led to massive regional power outages and demolished homes and businesses. Several South Louisiana casinos were closed for more than ten days after the hurricane strike.
Currently, eight state-regulated casinos have applied for sportsbooks permits. However, according to Johns, the identity of the eight is a private record.
Louisiana carries 13 riverboat casinos, four racinos, horse tracks with slot machines, and one land-based casino downtown New Orleans. A Lake riverboat casino destroyed last year in a hurricane is anticipated to reopen as a land-based resort in 2022.
Longer wait for smartphone wagering
Gamblers longing to use smartphones to bet on live sporting events will have to wait for a spell.
Johns stated he hopes some of the firms operating smartphone wagering apps will be approved in a couple of months. State’s casinos will work with these firms in rendering mobile betting.
“Mobile takes longer because the casinos use outside vendors to do that work, and those vendors haven’t been licensed yet, so they have to go through the suitability process and background checks with the State Police,” Johns stated.
“We are hoping to have some of those approved in a 60-day window.”
If mobile wagering is approved, Louisiana will have an advantage in the region on that kind of betting. No Louisiana neighboring state offers mobile wagering.
Despite the delay, this is still good news because that would mean Pelican State gamblers will take advantage of the NFL and NCAA Football 2021 regular-season schedules. The season has already kicked off together with the playoffs and championships of both leagues.
Industry analysts have forecasted that a Louisiana sports betting market could create $175 million in annual revenue, money that could be reenacted in renovating the state’s infrastructure and other serviceable projects benefiting the community.
Wagering in taverns likely in 2022
The use of kiosks to wager in taverns and restaurants that serve liquor may not be permitted until early 2022. The duty of overseeing booths is assigned to the Louisiana Lottery Corporation.
Louisiana Lottery President Rose Hudson stated the corporation is looking for vendors and is putting the rules for that industry segment in place. She told the USA Today Network this process should be finalized in November. That means kiosks could be up and running by the start of next year.
Hudson said she anticipates taverns and restaurants to welcome the presence of kiosks for clients who wish to wager.
“It offers the businesses another way to attract customers.”