Sports Betting in Louisiana Unlikely Before 2022: Gaming Official

Posted on: November 6, 2020, 02:42h. 

Last updated on: November 6, 2020, 04:49h.

Even with sports wagering legal now in most Louisiana parishes, no one will be allowed to place a bet for a year or more, says a top gaming regulator.

Sportsbook customers watch the action on large screens in this file photo. Casinos in Louisiana are planning to build sportsbooks now that wagering is legal in the Bayou State. (Image: Business Insider)

Michael D. Noel, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board chairman, told WBRZ-TV that legal sports betting probably will not take place in the state before 2022. The first step is for lawmakers to decide this spring how to roll out legal sports wagering, he said.

“It’s just the way the process works,” Noel said. “The Legislature has to lay out the framework, and then the rule-making process is a four-to-six-month process. Once that happens, the entities that want to participate will have to apply and get licensed.”

In a parish-by-parish vote this year, Louisiana residents in 55 of 64 parishes approved sports betting within the boundaries of their parish. In the Bayou State, counties are called parishes.

Even without legal betting in the immediate future, casinos are getting ready. L’Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge already is planning to construct a sportsbook. Penn National Gaming, which owns L’Auberge in the capital city, has four other properties in Louisiana.

Kim Ginn, general manager of L’Auberge in Baton Rouge, told the television station the resort views a sportsbook as a place where customers can “come, place their wagers, watch games, enjoy some food, and relax.”

“We would build out a whole new section for that,” she said.

However, she acknowledged the governmental process will take time.

“It’ll go in the legislative session starting in April,” she said. “Once it’s made into law, then rules have to be made by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, which controls us.”

Widespread Support

The sports-betting measure passed by wide margins in the large parishes where Louisiana’s major cities are located. These cities include New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles in the southern part of the state, and Shreveport in the northwestern corner. All are home to hotel-casinos.

Most of the nine parishes that voted against the ballot measure are in north-central Louisiana.

Lake Charles is in Calcasieu Parish, which extends to the Texas border in southwestern Louisiana. Proponents saw sports betting as a potential boost to the four casinos in the area. The Lake Charles-area casinos were damaged in two deadly hurricanes that recently clobbered the region only six weeks apart.

In Calcasieu Parish, 61 percent of voters supported the sports betting measure.

Sports Betting’s Popularity

Louisiana is one of three states that approved sports wagering on Election Day this year. The other two are Maryland and South Dakota.

Sports betting is operational in 19 states and the District of Columbia. This number will go up to 22 when Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota begin accepting bets. Sports wagering also is legal but not yet in operation in three additional states. These are Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington.   

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, said on the show this week that sports wagering is “taking the country by storm.”

“Sports betting has gone mainstream,” he said.

A 2018 ruling by the US Supreme Court gave states the ability to make their own decisions on sports betting.