Fantasy Sports Betting Possible by Spring in Louisiana

Posted on: February 8, 2021, 04:32h. 

Last updated on: February 8, 2021, 05:04h.

Fantasy sports betting companies can begin submitting applications this month to offer that service in Louisiana.

New Orleans Saints fans
New Orleans Saints fans in the Who Dat Nation cheer on their team. In football-crazy Louisiana, fantasy sports betting could be operational by next season. (Image: NBC News)

The date to begin submitting applications is Feb. 19, according to Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division.

McNeal said an investigation into any applicant’s suitability takes 60 days to 90 days. The State Police conducts these investigations. If that goes well, the company can appear before the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for a gambling license, according to the Associated Press. That means legal fantasy sports betting could be up and running in Louisiana by April or May, in time for the fall football season. 

In fantasy sports betting, participants fill out a roster of actual athletes from real teams and compile game statistics for a point total. 

In November 2018, voters in 47 of Louisianas 64 parishes supported a ballot item allowing fantasy sports betting within the boundary of their parish. Participants must be 21 or older. Bettors can travel into a parish to participate. 

In the election two years ago, DraftKings and FanDuel pumped $1 million into Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana. That was a PAC that promoted the measure in TV and radio ads and other voter outreach efforts, according to the Associated Press. 

Unresolved Issues 

Last year, Louisiana voters in 55 of 64 parishes approved sports betting within their parish. The measure passed overwhelmingly in the parishes where the big cities, including Baton Rouge and New Orleans, are located.

Gambling critics say sports betting entices juveniles and could shatter families that suffer heavy gambling losses.

Proponents contend restrictions are put in place to safeguard against these concerns. Those favoring sports betting also tout the tax revenue states gain from gaming ventures.

When the Louisiana Legislature next meets in April at the Capitol in Baton Rouge, lawmakers will have to decide several issues regarding sports betting, including taxation. 

Legislators also will determine whether to allow mobile sports betting or restrict wagering to in-person bets placed inside casinos. Louisiana is home to 13 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino in New Orleans, and four racinos.

With these issues and more still undecided, legal sports betting is not expected to be operational in Louisiana until 2022.

Boom in Sports Betting

Legislatures in other Southern states, including Georgia and Texas, also are taking sports betting measures under consideration this year. Some states in the region, such as a Mississippi and Arkansas, allow sports betting only inside casinos at sportsbooks and betting kiosks. 

In November, mobile sports betting became legal in Tennessee for bettors wagering within the Volunteer State. Tennessee does not have legal casinos.

According to the American Gaming Association, sports betting is legal in 20 states and Washington, D.C. It is legal but not yet operational if five states. Legislation to allow sports betting is active or has been prefiled in 14 states.