Betting on sports events in Louisiana may come sooner than expected after regulators in this state gave the green light to emergency rules on Thursday. These rules will jump-start the industry and adults will likely be able to bet on sports midway through the NFL season that is scheduled to start on September 9. According to an industry spokesman, a few of the 20 casinos in Louisiana should be able to accept in-person bets as early as mid-September. The original scheduled date was Thanksgiving.
Gaming Board Approves Rules Without Any Objections
The emergency rules were approved by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) and they will go into effect on Monday, August 23. With these regulations, the Big 20 land-based casinos – on four racetracks, 15 riverboats and New Orleans’ Harrah’s Casino, will be able to apply for licenses and thus, be able to provide residents of Louisiana with legal sports betting services.
According to Dawn M. Himel, Assistant Attorney General, these applications will be temporary and will serve as a launching pad for sports wagering. Himel is the person that presented the rules to the LGCB.
These new rules will be in effect for 180 days and they can be renewed for 180 days more, although Himel states that she hopes that the procedures for obtaining permanent licenses will go underway before the 180-day period expires. The law on rulemaking in Louisiana requires time for procedural requirements as well as for public input.
At the forefront of the process of making the rules are the LGCB and the Louisiana State Police. They act through Department of Justice lawyers and, currently, the emergency rules have an input of approximately 90 interest groups, some of which are casinos.
Ronnie Johns Held the First Meeting of the Gaming Control Board
The new head of the board, Ronnie Johns, chaired the first meeting and said that even though not everyone got what they desired, every single person was heard. Back in 2020, Ronnie Johns backed Senator J. Cameron Henry, when the bill was proposed and later accepted.
Johns also added that the casinos in Mississippi have been providing visitors with sports betting services for several years and that this presents a new territory for Louisiana. According to Johns, the Big 20 will receive the first licenses. These brick-and-mortar casinos already possess licenses for gambling games and are controlled on a regular basis. Johns hopes that every step of the process will be finished by the mid-football season.
Moreover, Wade Duty thinks that some of the Big 20 gambling facilities might even be able to accept bets in mid-September. Wade Duty is the Louisiana Casino Association’s executive director and he said that his members have already finished preparing the applications and will file them as soon as possible. Considering the fact that they are already licensed operators, the process of vetting will finish much quicker.