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Louisiana May Not See Delay in Sports Betting After All

When sports betting legislation was approved in Louisiana, the legislature set a goal of September 9 for a launch. The NFL season opens on this date with the defending Super Bowl champions hosting the Dallas Cowboys.

Although, there was a rumor in Louisiana that sports betting would be delayed because of a vacancy in the Louisiana Gaming Control Board chair position. Nevertheless, it was just clarified that sports betting would not be extensively postponed in the state.

The body is looking to launch in the fall, but week one does not look promising. This is still positive news considering politicians were expecting the industry to be nonexistent until 2022.

Politicians may be worried, but Christopher Hebert, the Gaming Division Director in the state, announced that day-to-day operations are still occurring despite the vacancy. According to Hebert, this means that sports betting is going to be live during football season.

Gaming Division Christopher Hebert debunks false rumors

Launching sports betting by the beginning of football season is critical for the state: NFL is the most wagered sport in the United States. Additionally, LA is home to the New Orleans Saints, and, naturally, there are many passionate fans throughout the area. This translates to significant betting handles and hefty tax revenue for the legislature.  

Hebert spoke Tuesday at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States. This conference was held in Chicago, and he established that the rumors about a sports betting delay are false. He said:

“There was a narrative that sports betting would be delayed because we’re operating without a chairman. I hope someone here quotes this: that is absolutely not the case. The board’s day-to-day operations have not, and will not, cease. We have operated three times in the past without a chairman. There are things in place. Our vice-chairman is authorized to memorialize decisions of the board.” — Christopher Hebert, Louisiana Gaming Division Director

The Gaming Control Board may not have a chair, but this does not really affect daily operations. The group is working on the rules for sports betting through weekly meetings. These regulation discussions have been going well, and the board is working towards a finalized plan.

There will be one or two stakeholder meetings for the body to receive input on the rules in August. If the board can complete the rules in the fall, there will be an emergency declaration from the governor to implement online wagering swiftly.

Stakeholders remain hesitant

Sports betting implementation has proven difficult throughout the United States. Stakeholders are stating that the board cannot finalize rules without a chair even though they are moving forward. Once a chair is hired, the person will likely have betting input.

This could cause the Gaming Control Board to resort to Ground Zero. Yet, Hebert’s confidence has given people confidence that sports betting will be available at some time during the NFL season. Sports betting will be live in 55 of the 64 parishes.

All 20 of the casinos in the state will be given a license with two online skins. The Louisiana Lottery will also be awarded a permit with one skin.

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