Mobile sports betting to go live in Louisiana on Friday

FILE - Someone placing a sports bet on their phone.
FILE - Someone placing a sports bet on their phone.(WWNY)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:18 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The wait nearly is over for Louisiana sports bettors eager to place wagers from their mobile devices. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board announced Wednesday (Jan. 26) that some of the state-licensed sites and apps will begin accepting mobile wagers starting Friday at 8 a.m.

Agency chairman Ronnie Johns made the long-awaited announcement in a brief written statement but did not specify which companies or apps would be among the first to start taking bets Friday.

“Currently eligible sports wagering operators will be approved to accept mobile bets as early as 8 a.m. Friday morning,” the statement said. “The remaining mobile sports wagering operators are in the process of meeting statutory and regulatory requirements and will be approved once those requirements are met.”

Agency attorney Heather Hood said the initial list of approved mobile vendors would probably be released to the public later Wednesday or Thursday.

“Until a certain point, they’re confidential,” Hood said without elaborating.

Retail sports betting opened in approved Louisiana casinos on Oct. 31, when former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert placed the first state-regulated legal sports bet at the Caesars Sportsbook inside the Harrah’s New Orleans Casino.

Related coverage: Legal sports betting opens in New Orleans with Bobby Hebert’s wager on Saints

Voters in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved sports betting last November, but the measure wasn’t signed into law until June. Hurricane Ida further delayed the Louisiana State Police from reviewing casino applications.

It is an issue that’s been debated in Louisiana for years.

“What I was fighting to do was to keep us on an even playing field with Biloxi,” said former state senator Danny Martiny.

The American Gaming Association says Louisiana will make around $50 million a year from sports betting.

“I firmly believe there’s only a certain amount of discretionary money available for gambling. You may take money away from bookies but I perceive it as being just another amenity,” said Martiny.

Among the operators who have been waiting to take Louisiana bettors’ sports wagers on mobile platforms are DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, BetMGM, Betfred and WynnBet. The companies have blanketed the state with advertising offering promotional bonuses for those who signed up for their mobile platforms before the Louisiana launch.

The sports betting news site legalsportsreport.com reported Tuesday that Johns’ gaming control board has signed 13 retail sports betting licenses with seven more applications awaiting approval. The Louisiana Lottery will be involved in regulating the mobile sites approved for operation in the state.

Retail sportsbooks in Louisiana handled $39.5 million in wagers in December 2021, generating an estimated $4.38 million in revenue for the casinos, according to the state agency’s January meeting. That was up from a $27.6 million handle reported during the first month of operation.

Having mobile applications approved for use before the biggest sports wagering day of the year -- the Super Bowl scheduled for Feb. 13 -- is expected to be a huge boon for the operators and state coffers. Some analysts project mobile sports betting in Louisiana eventually will generate $2.5 billion in sports wagers and more than $200 million in operator revenue annually.

“Louisiana has so many traits that will help its sportsbooks thrive,” said Eric Ramsey, lead data analyst for for PlayUSA.com Network. “Regulators have created an appealing framework that will continue to attract operators and foster competition, which is great for customers. The state is home to several rabid fan bases, especially for the Saints and LSU. And its ability to attract visitors as a regional gambling destination will help the market grow beyond its own population. It should all add up to a bright future.”

In order to legally bet on sports in Louisiana, mobile users must be at least 21 years old and be within a parish where the gambling measure has been approved.

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