After years of deliberations and legislative delays, daily fantasy sports (DFS) could be finally coming to Louisiana. Businesses that want to operate fantasy sports betting in the 47 Louisiana parishes whose voters approved it in 2018 can start applying in February. Under the timeline, fantasy sports could be live in the Sugar State as early as April if the gambling board approves the operators’ licenses.
According to Maj. Chuck McNeal, the Command Inspector for the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, fantasy sports contest operators can begin submitting license applications from February 19. McNeal added that the suitability investigations could take up to 90 days to complete before an operator can appear before the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for a gambling license. Under the stated timeline, which could be concluded in 60 days at the earliest, fantasy sports betting operations could go live by April or May.
In fantasy sports, gamblers create imaginary teams of real-life sports players to score points on the basis of how those players perform in actual games. Fantasy sports leaders such as FanDuel and DraftKings charge an entry fee and give payouts to winners.
How Have We Reached Here?
Voters in 47 of the 65 parishes agreed in the November 2018 election to legalize fantasy sports betting in Louisiana. State lawmakers have since delved into details regarding what the new industry should look like, including its tax rates and the regulatory process. Almost everything has now been finalized except for the licensing decisions for the individual operator from the concerned Gaming Control Board.
Daily fantasy consumers will have to be 21 or older in order to participate in the games that will be permitted in only those 47 parishes that voted for the measure. However, anybody can log into the online fantasy sports betting sites once they are inside of one of those 47 parishes.
What About Sports Betting?
As daily fantasy sports players are expecting a summer launch, it reflects a slow process that will see almost two and half years between voters’ approval and the eventual launch of the industry in Louisiana. The snail’s pace of the legislative process raises another, even more important, question: Will lawmakers will repeat the dragging procedure for the sports betting regulations?
Louisiana voters recently approved sports betting in the Sugar State in November 2020, two years after they nodded to daily fantasy sports betting in 2018. Evidently, daily fantasy sports regulations saw a legislative delay, leading to fears that sports betting could meet the same procedural hurdles and thus drag to months if not years before going live.
According to industry experts, it usually takes approximately 6-12 months to launch the sports betting industry in a state. Considering Louisiana lawmakers’ pace for ironing out the process for daily fantasy sports, it appears the Sugar State could launch its sports betting by next year’s Super Bowl.