Approved Thursday, Louisiana‘s emergency sports betting rules go into effect today, and forms needed for operators to apply are available on the Louisiana State Police website. The state police will act as the clearinghouse for applications — not only posting them, but accepting applications, which can be hand-delivered to the office in Baton Rouge as early as today. The goal is for brick-and-mortar locations to be accepting wagers sometime in September. Applications for prospective daily fantasy operators are also available.
On Friday, the LGCB approved the emergency rules that are in effect for 180 days beginning today. The emergency rules could be renewed for another 180 days, but during the agency’s Aug. 19 board meeting, a representative from the state attorney general’s office was clear in saying the goal is to approve permanent sports betting rules before the first 180 days is up. The AG’s office did not say when it will post proposed rules, but when it does, they will be subject to a public-comment period and stakeholder input before being approved.
The state’s new law allows for wagering through up to 41 digital sports wagering platforms, retail locations at 20 existing gaming locations (casinos, racetracks), and lottery kiosks at locations with Class A on-site liquor licenses.
Most major operators already have foothold
Many major operators are already approved or actively offering some sort of gaming in Louisiana — both DraftKings and FanDuel were approved as daily fantasy operators on July 15 — and casino operators Boyd Gaming, Caesars, Penn National Gaming, and Golden Nugget all operate land-based casinos in the state.
Boyd Gaming operates multiple casinos, as well as two horse racetracks, while Penn National Gaming, which will brand its digital sportsbook under its Barstool Sportsbook banner, operates about half a dozen casinos. Caesars operates at least three casinos, including the state’s only land-based casino in New Orleans, through its Harrah’s brand. Churchill Downs, Inc., which operates digital sports betting via its TwinSpires platform, has access through New Orleans’ Fair Grounds Race Course, which it owns.
“As far as timeline, I’d expect to see some of the brick and mortars ready by mid-September to take in-person, on premises.”
The Big 20 Casinos in Louisiana can file applications to handle sports betting in the state, with emergency rules approved:https://t.co/sfWiZZsph3
— The Advocate (@theadvocatebr) August 19, 2021
On balance, the emergency rules stick closely to the letter of the law. Notably, the rules break down how the LGCB will select operators if there are more applicants than available licenses. Among the key criteria are:
- Operators who offer the “greatest potential” for revenue to the state.
- The character, reputation, experience, and financial integrity of an applicant.
- Design of the physical sportsbook.
Licenses will be awarded at the next LGCB meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 16. It’s unclear how quickly the LGCB could launch an operator after a license is awarded, but it’s clear from the timeline that the goal is to have live sports betting in the state by the middle of the NFL season. Operators will be awarded a “temporary certificate of authority” and must already be licensed for gaming either in Louisiana or another U.S. state in order to be considered.
Nine parishes will be geofenced
Because nine parishes did not approve sports betting, the emergency rules include a section on “prohibited parishes,” detailing that wagers may not be made from within those parishes, operators may not offer sports betting within those parishes, and that those parishes will be geofenced.
The emergency rules also allow for multiple ways for players to self-exclude, including calling for self-restriction, which would allow a player to restrict themselves from wagering on a certain platform for a set period of time (at least 30 days) and would also allow players to set their own betting limits as well as limit how much money they can fund an account with. In addition, the state will maintain a self-exclusion list. During the time frame when a player self-restricts on a certain site, the operator is prohibited from sending the player any marketing or advertising information.
As a part of the deal to legalize sports betting, the revenue generated will go towards helping manage the state’s budget, assist local governments, and fund early childhood education. https://t.co/wyO5Xoluh7
— KPLC (@KPLC7News) August 21, 2021
The emergency rules are designed to get operators up and running, and do not detail many issues usually found in permanent rules. As an example, application or licensing fees are not specifically detailed, as those likely won’t go into full effect until the final rules are passed. The new law calls for a $250,000 application fee for a sports betting license and a $500,000 renewal fee, good for five years, for the 20 existing gaming venues.
When Louisiana does go live, it will be the first state in its region to offer statewide mobile betting apps. Neighbors Arkansas and Mississippi both offer in-person (and, in some cases, on-site mobile) wagering, while Texas lawmakers failed to act on a sports betting bill during the most recent legislative session. Texas’ next legislative session won’t get underway until 2023.