Updated on November 05, 2020
Legal sports betting in Louisiana became a reality after Louisianian voters answered Yes to the below question on their ballot:
“PROPOSITION TO AUTHORIZE SPORTS WAGERING ACTIVITIES. Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of _________________?
YES ( ) NO ( )”
When election day was finished, 55 out of 64 parishes thought that they should indeed be permitted.
State lawmakers will still have to come up with the rules and regulations for legal sports betting in Louisiana in the 2021 legislative session. After that, the regulatory process begins and applications will have to be accepted and licenses will need to be awarded before any real wagers can be put down.
If all goes well, residents and tourists can start betting on sports in Louisiana in the fall of 2021.
Louisiana Sports Betting Timeline
2018 – Louisiana Senator Dany Martiny has been the champion of LA sports betting and his initial efforts came in early March of 2018 when SB 266 was introduced.
This bill sought to put the issue of sports betting on the 2018 November ballot. However, it was introduced before PASPA was repealed in May of 2018.
Legislators passed it around several committees for a month before ultimately dismissing it and leaving it behind to pursue other matters.
2019 – Senator Martiny came back with another similar bill in April of 2019. SB153, more formally known as The Louisiana Sports Wagering Control Act, would have legalized Louisiana sportsbooks at the state’s 16 casinos or four racetracks.
Mobile betting was going to be restricted to the sportsbook areas of licensed establishments similar to Mississippi. Bettors would need to be 21 years or older and each parish would have been able to decide if they want sports betting on their October ballots.
The bill made it through the state Senate on a 24-15 vote. The bill was on a good path to being passed in the state House of representatives as well until it hit the House Appropriations Committees.
An amendment was added which would allow any business with a video lottery terminal to turn them into sports betting kiosks.
There are about 2,800 locations with those machines across the state which meant sports betting in Louisiana would have been much more accessible than lawmakers were comfortable in. It was dubbed the poison pill of the bill.
That amendment came only a few days before the June 6 adjournment. Senator Martiny tried to tack his bill onto a DFS bill with momentum on the last day of the session just to get it passed but that was ultimately not enough.
2020 – With Senator Martiny termed out of office, someone needed to carry the torch. Thankfully, other lawmakers stepped up and 5 bills were filed before the session even began in March.
Those bills were LA SB 130, LA SB 332, LA SB 66, LA HB 357, and LA SB 378. But, it was LA SB 130 that made it to the finish line and was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards on June 13, 2020. The bill turned into Act. No. 215 after it’s signing.
The bill was a simple referendum bill asking individual parishes if they even want sports betting in their area. The only amendment added was one that clarified it would be the Lousiana Gaming Control Board who would regulate the industry.
Given how the COVID-19 pandemic cut into the 2020 session and affected lawmakers’ ability to pass a bill this year, this bill seemed like the quickest choice.
Voters ultimately gave sports betting in Louisiana their blessing in 55 out of 64 parishes, including the ones with New Orleans and Baton Rouge in them. The rules and regulations for the market will still need to be figured out in 2021.
Where You Can Bet On Sports In Louisiana?
Where you can bet on sports in Louisiana has yet to be determined. But, given how past bills were shaped, Louisiana sportsbooks will most likely be the state’s casinos and racetracks.
Senator Martiny’s 2019 bill included these measures and got farther than any other bill of its kind. It was only until House representatives included an amendment that gave VLT retailers the ability to convert their machines into sportsbooks that lawmakers then backed off.
It seems as though legislators want to keep sportsbooks in Louisiana to a minimum and ensure that the businesses conducting the activity have experience with gambling.
For now, your best bet would be to go to Mississippi or Arkansas to place a bet in their sportsbooks.
What Sports Betting Apps Are Available in Louisiana?
The topic of Louisiana sports betting apps has been left out of the discussion in the state legislature for the past three years.
The ballot measure approved in November mentions nothing about mobile sports wagering in LA and will instead have to be decided by legislators in the 2021 session.
While past sessions focused on having apps available solely in licensed retail establishments, the tax revenues lost in 2020 may provide a reason to expand to statewide mobile platforms.
Doing so would also attract sports bettors from neighboring states and increase the amount of tax revenue Louisiana could make. If lawmakers do decide to go this route, expect some big names to come to Louisiana such as DraftKings, William Hill, and BetMGM.
What Daily Fantasy Sports Website Operate In Louisiana?
Regulated daily fantasy sports in Louisiana will more than likely come sooner than traditional sports betting.
In 2018, Louisiana held a parish-by-parish vote to find out which communities want to allow DFS into their area. It was a simple referendum bill, similar to the one for sports betting this year.
The legislature was then tasked with coming up with proper rules and regulations for the parishes that approved the activity. A total of 47 of 64 parishes voted in favor of DFS in 2018, but the state couldn’t get another DFS bill passed in 2019.
On June 11, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards officially legalized DFS contests when he signed LA HB 357 into law. Just four days after that, the governor signed LA HA 64 which set the tax rate for DFS operator revenue at 8%.
State officials are expecting to generate $375,000 each year from tax revenue and are working towards launching the industry before the 2020 NFL season.
Louisiana Sports Betting FAQs
Can I Bet On The LSU Tigers In Louisiana?
At the moment no. Betting on the LSU Tigers in Louisiana is not permitted. In order to bet on the team, you’d have to visit a sportsbook in either Arkansas or more closely in Mississippi.
What Are The Best Louisiana Sportsbooks?
At the moment that is hard to tell. The referendum ballot measure did not specify who will operate sports betting or where exactly it will take place. Harrah’s casino in New Orleans is expected to be a prime location to host a sportsbook now that it was approved by the local parish.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Bet On Sports In Louisiana?
The legal sports betting age was not defined in the 2020 ballot measure. In past bills, the legal sports betting age in Lousiana was set at 21.
Who Will Regulate The LA Sports Betting Market?
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will regulate sports betting in the state after rules for the industry have been signed into law.
When Will Sportsbooks In Louisiana Launch?
Given the current timeline, sportsbooks in Louisiana should launch in late 2021 or early 2022. Voters have approved it this fall so now legislators have to approve rules in the spring of next year. Once that’s done the Louisiana Gaming Control Board has to undergo regulatory processes next summer, leaving those time frames as the most likely launch dates.