Louisiana has always been a little different so it’s not a surprise that their treatment of sports betting is too. In November 2020 a referendum was passed by Louisiana voters that legalized sports betting in the state. However, it’s not quite that simple. Voters in each parish could decide whether to bring sports betting to their specific communities. Every other state that has voted on legalizing sports betting has done so via a state-wide referendum, not broken down by county.
In Louisiana the French, Creole, and Cajun influence is evident in everything from its amazing food to its Napoleonic system of government, making it one of the most unique states in the country. Interestingly, Louisiana has a civil law system of state government, while the other 49 states have a common law system. Louisiana also has parishes instead of counties. There are 64 parishes in the state that each have a say on sports betting. There doesn’t appear to be any legal differences between a parish and a county, but the distinction without a difference is just another Louisiana quirk.
Once the sports betting dust settled, 56 of the 64 parishes approved sports betting, both in-person and online. The eight parishes that declined will be geofenced to prevent bets from taking place. Residents there who want to legally bet on sports will have to drive to a neighboring parish to place their bets. No other state has done it this way, but it is not surprising that Louisiana was the first because no other state is quite like Louisiana.
Louisiana sports betting legislative outlook
Similar to other states such as Maryland, voters in Louisiana were asked whether they wanted to legalize sports betting but were not asked to decide on a regulatory structure. If the voters said no, then the legislature knew it did not need to do any more work on the issue. If the voters said yes, the legislature would get to work creating legislation to enact a regulatory framework. This has happened in multiple states and seems to be the preferred approach of many state legislators, including those in Baton Rouge.
After the referendum was passed by Louisiana voters in 2020, legislators got to work. During the 2021 legislative session, hearings were held on two bills that would guide the legalization of sports betting in Louisiana. The first bill, which set up the regulatory structure, was passed by the state Senate and is likely to be signed into law soon. The second bill, which established the tax and fee structure, passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming margins. The Senate has passed all legislation needed to bring sports betting to the state and the House is expected to finish its work before adjournment.
A third bill is expected to be introduced and passed by both legislative bodies that will determine how the revenue generated by sports betting will be spent. This is obviously important, but does not affect the ability of the regulatory process to proceed.We will update you once the legislative process is complete and all relevant legislation has been signed into law.
Ok, enough government talk. Now let’s talk about what all this means for bettors in the Pelican State (seriously, it’s the Pelican state).
Louisiana online sports betting
Fans of online betting, which is almost everyone, will be very happy to learn that Louisiana will have mobile betting and (most likely) mobile registration. Even better, there will be many different mobile sportsbooks in the state! The legislation authorizes up to 20 sportsbook licenses, with all the existing casinos in the state able to apply for one. Louisiana could end up being one of the most open, competitive markets in the country.
Right now there are 19 commercial casinos in the state:
- 14 riverboat casinos (there were 15, but DiamondJacks in Bossier City permanently closed in 2020)
- 4 racino horse tracks
- 1 large Harrah’s casino right in the middle of New Orleans
All 19 casinos are able to apply for a sports betting license. Each licensee qualifies for two online “skins.” A skin is a mobile component to a licensed casino operator. So if Harrah’s New Orleans gets a sports betting license, the casino can have two online partners. Since Harrah’s is owned by Caesars, which itself is going through a major sportsbook rebrand, one of the two online skins could be Caesars Sports.
Things get a little more complicated when dealing with multiple casinos owned by the same company. Caesars owns five casinos in the state, so the company could technically have 10 different skins. But Caesars Sports is the company’s main sportsbook brand, which means the five retail casinos will most likely be “tethered” to the same online brand. Caesars likely does not want to cannibalize its own market share by partnering with a competing sportsbook brand.
Therefore, because of the casino ownership structure, the total number of sportsbooks operating in the state will end up being less than 40 (20 licenses x 2 skins each). We expect about a dozen different operators to end up competing in the Louisiana market, which is great news for residents and the millions of visitors who travel to Louisiana each year.
In another unusual twist, the Louisiana Lottery will also have a license and can partner with a sportsbook operator. Lottery operators in other states have partnered with sportsbooks, but most have not been in charge of administering up to 1,000 sports betting kiosks that will be installed in bars and restaurants. Louisiana leads the way once again. Presumably based on the popularity of existing video poker machines throughout the state, Louisiana has authorized sports betting kiosks to be permitted in bars and restaurants that serve liquor.
With mobile betting also authorized, patrons presumably could bet from their phones while seated at the bar, but restaurants in the state wanted in on the action. In order to provide another option to bettors and give bars an additional way to increase sales, the state has authorized kiosks, which will also provide additional revenue to the state from the 10 percent tax rate on the net revenue.
Louisiana online sportsbooks: who’s coming?
Seven different companies own all 19 casinos currently in the state. Most of them are major, publicly traded companies that have a sportsbook or have partnered with sportsbook operators in other states. We expect all of them to roll out online products around market launch. Retail sportsbooks are also expected to quickly populate the state.
|Online Sportsbook||Casino Partner||Parent Company||City|
|Caesars Sports||Harrah's Louisiana Downs||Caesars||Bossier City|
|Harrah's New Orleans||Caesars||New Orleans|
|Horseshoe Casino||Caesars||Bossier City|
|Isle of Capri Casino (closed until Spring 2022)||Caesars||Lake Charles|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||Amelia Belle Casino||Boyd Gaming||Amelia|
|Evangeline Downs||Boyd Gaming||Opelousas|
|Delta Downs||Boyd Gaming||Vinton|
|Sam's Town||Boyd Gaming||Shreveport|
|Treasure Chest Casino||Boyd Gaming||Kenner|
|Barstool Sportsbook||Boomtown Casino||Penn National||Bossier City|
|Boomtown Casino||Penn National||New Orleans|
|L'Auberge Casino||Penn National||Baton Rouge|
|L'Auberge Casino||Penn National||Lake Charles|
|Margaritaville Resort Casino||Penn National||Bossier City|
|TwinSpires||Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots||Churchill Downs Inc.||New Orleans|
|Golden Nugget||Golden Nugget||Golden Nugget||Lake Charles|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Belle of Baton Rouge||Casino Queen||Baton Rouge|
|Hollywood Casino||Casino Queen||Baton Rouge|
The casino giant owns five retail casinos in Louisiana, including Harrah’s Casino New Orleans, which is the official casino partner of both the Saints and Pelicans, the city’s NBA team. There is no doubt that the brand new Caesars Sportsbook mobile app will be a factor in Louisiana. Caesars may also partner with another brand using one of its many online skins, but that remains to be seen.
Boyd Gaming owns five retail casinos in the state, which makes up 30 percent of its non-Nevada-based holdings. Louisiana is obviously an important state for the company. Boyd has casinos in several states with sports betting, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. In each of those states Boyd has partnered with FanDuel to bring the sports betting titan to those markets. We fully expect Boyd to do the same in Louisiana, which could see FanDuel join the potentially crowded sports betting market by the end of 2021.
Penn National also owns five casinos in Louisiana. Five seems to be the magic number here. As you are likely aware, Penn National has a sizeable, and very profitable, stake in Barstool Sports. As such, there is a very large chance that Barstool Sportsbook will be live in Louisiana at some point in the future, either late 2021 or early 2022. Beignets and Betting with Barstool on Bourbon Street has a nice alliterative ring to it and should become a reality. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that it’s in time for the Sugar Bowl or the Saints NFL playoff run.
Bally’s is making a lot of noise in the sports betting industry. Bally Bet, the company’s sportsbook, just went live in Colorado in May 2021. Additionally, Bally’s partnered with Sinclair, owner of the New Orleans Regional Sports Network (RSN) that is now known as Bally Sports New Orleans. The channel will feature live sports events and programming focused on sports betting. Since Bally’s Corp owns the Eldorado Shreveport, it will have access to a sports betting license. There is a good chance that Bally Bet will enter the Louisiana market.
Churchill Downs Inc.
Speaking of re-branding, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) owns both the BetAmerica and TwinSpires brands. The company had invested heavily in bringing BetAmerica to several states, including Indiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Then, in early 2021, CDI announced that it would be phasing out the BetAmerica brand and replacing it with TwinSpires in those states and all new states it will expand to. All that said, what you need to know is that TwinSpires is likely to arrive in Louisiana at some point through the Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, the iconic horse racing facility owned by CDI.
The Golden Nugget brand is iconic and widely known in the gambling community. In fact, Golden Nugget has been the number one online casino brand in New Jersey for several years straight. Golden Nugget is working on parlaying its online casino success into a successful online sportsbook, which is currently available in states that include New Jersey, Michigan and Nevada. With two online skins tethered to the Golden Nugget Lake Charles Casino, it is possible that the company will also partner with a large sportsbook operator like PointsBet or theScore to pair with its self-branded product. Time will tell what the company decides to do, but we are confident that the Golden Nugget will be in the sports betting game in Louisiana, either using its own online sportsbook or partnering with another operator.
The Casino Queen company is based in East St. Louis, Illinois and has a great deal of experience running riverboat casinos up and down the Mississippi. They brought their expertise to Louisiana after recently purchasing two existing riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge. In Illinois, Casino Queen has rebranded its riverboat casino to the subtly named “DraftKings at Casino Queen.” You guessed it, Casino Queen has a partnership with DraftKings. It would make sense for Casino Queen to bring DraftKings Sportsbook to the Pelican State through its Belle of Baton Rouge and/or Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge properties.
Louisiana sports betting promotions
Online sportsbooks offer some sort of promotion to entice new customers to try out their service. These promotions often come in the forms of a risk-free bet, a free first bet, or a deposit match. While we obviously don’t know exactly which promotions will be offered in Louisiana, it is safe to say that new players will be able to boost their bankroll in some form when they sign up for an account. Once the market is live we’ll have all of the best Louisiana sports betting promo codes available here.
For more information on bonus offers and promotions, SportsHandle put together this useful page explaining how the most common bonus offers work. Just remember to look at the Terms and Conditions before making your first deposit or placing a promotional bet. Each sportsbook has their own rules and requirements. Let’s go over the specific promotions in a little more detail.
A risk-free bet is a bet that will be refunded if you lose. This is a common promotion that allows new players to bet with house money. Say you make a $500 deposit and want to bet that $500 on a playoff game. With a risk-free bet, you can make your first bet knowing that if you lose, your money will be refunded as site credit. If you win, that’s great, but you can take a chance knowing your first bet is “risk-free.”
A free bet is just that, a bet that doesn’t cost you anything. Many sportsbooks offer a free bet when you open an account. It is usually in the form of a site credit that appears after your first deposit. You can use that credit to make a bet, which makes it a free bet. If you win, you get to keep the winnings. If you lose, you aren’t out any money. Most sportsbooks don’t let you withdraw the original free bet amount, so if you had a free bet credit for $50 and won $30, you would be able to withdraw the $30 in winnings but not $80 (credit and winnings). As always, be sure to check the rules before making any promotional wagers.
A deposit match is, yes, when the sportsbook matches your deposit. With a 100% deposit match if you deposit $250, you will receive $250 (100%) in site credit as part of a deposit match promotion. This money doesn’t have to be used on one bet. You can spend it on many different bets or on one big bet. The choice is yours, which is why a deposit match can be a more useful promotion than the others.
Odds boosts are often offered to everyone, not just new players. Sportsbooks will offer enhanced odds for a promoted bet. Many odds boosts are regional. For example, when FanDuel Sportsbook goes live in Louisiana, they may boost the odds on the Saints or LSU Tigers. This will give fans of those teams more of an incentive to bet on their team. It is more marketing than anything, but if the bet ends up winning the payout is higher than it otherwise would have been.
Each state decides which sports are authorized to be offered by sportsbooks. Sportsbooks in every state offer the major sports (NHL, NFL, WNBA, NBA, College football, College basketball, MLB, Golf, Soccer), but some states are more innovative and let sportsbooks offer just about any sport played anywhere in the world. Colorado has an innovative regulatory structure and allows wagering on lesser-known sports (betting on ping pong is particularly popular in the state, for some reason). Louisiana has not finalized its regulations yet, but we expect bettors will be able to wager on all the major sports worldwide. No word yet on ping pong.
A market is a wager available at a sportsbook. The sportsbook “makes the market” by offering a wager that people can “buy.” For example, if the Saints are playing the Falcons in a prime-time game, a sportsbook might offer over a hundred different markets on the game. Each possible bet listed on the sportsbook is a market. Saints -4.5 is one market. Falcons +4.5 is a second market. Alvin Kamara rushing for over 90.5 yards is a market known as a player prop bet. Under 90.5 yards is yet another market. You get the idea. While we don’t know exactly which bets will be authorized by state regulators, here are the most common markets offered by sportsbooks nationwide:
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Louisiana. In November 2020, voters in 56 of the state’s 64 parishes approved a referendum to legalize sports betting. Residents in those 56 parishes will be able to bet online as soon as the legislative and regulatory process is complete, which should happen sometime during the 2021 football season. They will also be able to bet using a sports betting kiosk at their neighborhood bar or restaurant, similar to the video poker machines available throughout the state. Sports betting is legal and coming to Louisiana, but it isn’t there yet. Bettors in the state will just have to be a little patient.
Which online sportsbooks will be available in Louisiana?
Over three dozen sportsbooks could end up going live in Louisiana, though the final number will likely be below that because seven companies control the casino market in the state. That said, we have a pretty good idea of which sportsbooks will be the first to arrive in Louisiana. Those companies include:
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Bally Bet
- Golden Nugget
What banking options will be available for Louisiana sports betting?
Again, we don’t know exactly which operators will be live in Louisiana and which banking options will be available to bettors in the state, but we can say with confidence that most, if not all, of the following options will be available for deposits and withdrawals:
- ACH eCheck
- Bank wire transfer
- Cash at casino cage
- Online banking
- Play+ prepaid card
When will Louisiana sports betting launch?
Louisiana sports betting is still a work in progress. Legislators in the state are working hard to shape the industry and facilitate a quick roll out. Fall 2021, or more specifically football season 2021 is the current ETA.
Which parishes chose not to legalize sports betting?
As mentioned, 56 out of 64 parishes voted in 2020 to legalize sports betting. Nine rural parishes in the northern part of the state voted against legalization. Those parishes include:
- West Carroll
Responsible gambling resources
Betting on sports is meant to be entertainment, similar to watching Netflix or going out to dinner. Putting a few bucks on the game can make it more interesting and entertaining, but, like most things, sports betting is best when done in moderation. For those who think their betting might be out of control, there are many responsible gaming resources available, both state-run and private. Such resources include:
Self-exclusion list – In many states, casinos are required to have a self-exclusion list, which means that if you put yourself on the list because you are trying not to gamble, casinos are legally required to bar you from entering their property.
Deposit and session limits – Sportsbooks often offer ways to limit the amount of money you can deposit in an account, if you are trying to curb your gambling. Sportsbooks can also limit the amount of time you can be logged into the site. This is more common for online casinos, but does apply to sportsbooks as well.
Helplines – There are phone numbers you can call or even text if you think you have a gambling problem. Trained professionals are available to talk to you about your situation and recommend ways to get help.
For more information about problem gambling in Louisiana and other states,visit the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG)’streatment/resource finder by state.
- Call the NCPG: 1-800-522-4700 (24-hour confidential national helpline)
- Text the NCPG: 1-800-522-4700 (24-hour confidential national text service)
- Chat with the NCPG:ncpgambling.org/chat (24-hour confidential national chat service)