The Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Thursday passed emergency sports betting rules in a bid to launch the sports betting industry during the football season. The striking development comes less than a month after the appointment of the LGCB’s new chairman following weeks of uncertainty that the headless regulatory body could miss the NFL launch date.
The emergency rules go into effect Monday, Aug. 23, and will remain valid for 180 days, allowing the regulatory body to work on permanent sports betting rules and launch the open sports betting licensing process.
If required, the emergency rules will be extended to another 180 days.
The state’s law allows 20 land-based and riverboat casinos to have sports betting when it goes live.
Can Louisiana Bettors Place Legal Wagers During NFL?
With the emergency rules in place, there is still a possibility to see Louisiana sports betting go live this NFL. But there’s no clear official word regarding the exact launch date, though new chairman Ronnie Johns said he believes it could be in time for the football betting this year.
However, much depends on the LGCB, and how quickly it disseminates emergency rules, which did not go through a public comment period. The LGCB said it would post the rules by the end of the day. But many stakeholders were waiting to see as of late Thursday.
Though the emergency rules can be extended for another six months, the authorities believe that a renewal would not be necessary.
The plan is to replace emergency rules with permanent rules in the coming months. Those rules will follow through a public comment period.
How Have We Reached Here?
Louisiana sports betting started its journey in Nov. 2020, when 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to approve the measure. The state lawmakers did their best to wrap up legislative work in time for the 2021 NFL launch. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bills in June.
All seemed on track until the then LGCB Chairman Mike Noel resigned June 9, preempting a Senate confirmation hearing where he could be questioned about a black man’s death under police custody. Noel was the chief of staff at the time of Ronald Greene’s death in May 2019.
Noel’s departure prompted Senate President Page Cortez to say that without a gaming board chair, Sugar State might miss its sports betting timeline.
On July 26, Sen. Ronnie Johns resigned his legislative seat to lead the board.
Who Gets Louisiana Sports Betting Licenses?
The Louisiana sports betting law allows 15 land-based casinos and five racinos to seek a sports betting license. Each license can have up to two mobile skins. Retail betting will be levied at 10% tax and a 15% tax will be deducted on digital bets.
The Louisiana Lottery will also receive a license and will be able to operate a mobile skin as well as kiosks at bars and restaurants.
Most leading operators have indicated their arrival in Louisiana sports betting. Caesars Entertainment, which recently rebranded its sportsbook following William Hill’s incorporation, took over the naming rights to the Superdome last month.
DraftKings and BetMGM both mentioned Louisiana in Q2 reports, indicating their launch.
Other leading sportsbooks – such as FanDuel, Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, Golden Nugget, and TwinSpires – also have connections with casinos in Sugar State.