The Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Thursday awarded the first daily fantasy operator license to DraftKings, allowing it to operate in the approved parishes. However, rival FanDuel failed to obtain a DFS license reportedly due to the pandemic-led complications and will seek a license in the near future.

The Boston-based operator said in a release it will launch its daily fantasy sports product in approved parishes in Louisiana, which will be the 44th state in the nation to offer DraftKings DFS.

Voters in 47 of the Sugar State’s 64 parishes approved DFS in Nov. 2018 – including six largest parishes by population voted for DFS.

When Can DraftKings Launch DFS in Louisiana?

DraftKings could go live as early as Thursday, the same day the state’s gaming control board awarded the license, according to The Advocate.

DraftKings CFO and co-founder Matt Kalish said in a press release the company welcomes Louisiana to the DraftKings family, adding that Bayou will now have access to the company’s “world-leading” DFS product as it ramps up toward the kickoff of football season.

The Boston-based company will have a clear advantage to launch its DFS and sports betting products in Louisiana – an uncharted territory for both industries.

DraftKings will be the first-ever DFS operator to launch in the state to use DFS databases to convert customers to sports betting, which is also expected to launch by the fall.

According to testimony from an official, who vetted DraftKings’ application, the company expects to draw up to $15.5 million in net revenue in its launch year, meaning the state could generate nearly $1.3 million from the DFS during that span.

Evolution of Daily Fantasy in Louisiana

The Louisiana voters approved daily fantasy in Nov. 2018, two years before they said ‘Yes’ to sports betting in Nov. 2020.

In June 2020, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill establishing an 8% tax rate for digital Daily Fantasy Sports betting, honoring the wishes of 47 of Lousiana’s 64 parishes, who had approved DFS in 2018. But it took more than a year for the regulator to award the first DFS license.

The LGCB – currently without a chair – is tasked to create regulations and approving applications. The former head Mike Noel quit June 9 before confirmation hearings. His departure at the critical time has slowed down the process of sports betting regulations.

But Christopher Herbert of the state attorney general’s office believes the vacancy ought not to slow the process for sports betting regulations as “the board’s day-to-day operations have not ceased and the department will not cease just because they’re operating without a chair.”

Last month, the LGCB confirmed that is moving forward with proposed regulations for daily fantasy and sports betting. Neither has been released yet.

When Will Louisiana Sports Launch?

Lousiana voters approved sports betting in 55 of 64 parishes last November. Edwards signed the final two sports betting bills less than a month ago, clearing the path for a timely launch, which all the stakeholders had hoped should be during football season.

The new law will legalize statewide online sports betting, as well as retail betting at existing casinos and horse racetracks around the Sugar State.

Senate President Patrick Page Cortez, one of the main sponsors for Louisiana sports betting, had recently said that the launch could be delayed without a gaming control board chair. But Herbert told a conference of legislators that the LGCB is working on the rules.

Now that DFS is launching, the hopes for a timely Louisiana sports betting are rekindled.

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