The destruction to Louisiana caused by Hurricane Ida has been extensive, but another issue has arisen. After working feverishly to implement emergency rules to launch legal sports betting in time for the NFL season, hurricane recovery has taken precedence over virtually everything else. That includes the issuance of the first sportsbook licenses, which means legal sports betting isn’t available in the state today, the first day of the new NFL season.
Louisiana Sports Betting on Hold
Last month, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) implemented emergency rules and moved up the date that sports betting operators could begin applying for licenses. It set August 23 as the start date for the process, with an outside chance that a couple of sportsbooks could be operational in time for the first kickoff of the NFL season. However, Hurricane Ida disrupted those plans and the LGCB is now pushing back its licensing process.
According to Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty, the licensing process has had a delay of around ten days added to it. That means the first licenses are not likely to be distributed until close to the end of the month. The good news, though, is that at least the state will be able to capture the majority of the NFL season, only missing one or two weeks.
Louisiana’s Robust Sports Betting Market
Louisiana has solid plans for its sports betting market. 20 casinos and racetracks are a lock for a license since they already meet the state’s requirements for suitability. Other potential sportsbook operators, however, will have to go through a vetting process that will take more time, delayed more because of Hurricane Ida.
There is also a possibility that, eventually, local bars and restaurants will offer some type of sports betting option – likely through kiosks – but that will depend on local approvals. Of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, 55 approved a measure last November to allow sports betting in their respective jurisdictions and that approval became law this past June. Louisiana is poised to have a highly successful sports betting market once it is up and running. The money generated will be very welcome, with licenses costing $500,000 and taxes providing continuous income to the state – 10% on net proceeds from retail operations and 15% from mobile operations go to the state.