Louisiana would have liked to be able to launch its new sports betting market in conjunction with the NFL season when it began on September 9. That goal ended up being too lofty, so the start date was pushed back. It had to be changed once again because of Hurricane Ida, and has now been changed once again. It looks like Louisiana sports bettors will have to wait until sometime in October before they begin to see legal sportsbooks in the state.
Louisiana Sports Betting Possible in October
It became apparent that meeting the September 9 goal wasn’t a possibility in the weeks leading up to the first kickoff, as regulators were still putting the final touches on sports betting rules. Louisiana then shot for the middle of September as an alternative, but was then forced to push that back when Hurricane Ida rolled through the area. Gaming regulators thought that everything would be calmed down and targeted this week for the new anticipated launch. However, that has become an unrealistic goal, as well.
Wade Duty, the executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, believes that mid-October is now a more viable target for legal sports betting to finally appear in the state. Hurricane Ida is proving to be more stubborn than previously expected and cleanup measures are pulling away state resources that would otherwise have been involved in sports betting license approvals. In particular, troopers with the Louisiana State Police that would normally be assigned to gaming division responsibilities as part of the Gaming Enforcement Division had to be shifted to assist with policing areas that are still impacted by the hurricane.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) Chairman Ronnie Johns confirmed that a delay resulted from extended attention given to Hurricane Ida, but acknowledged that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. License applications had already started to be delivered and have now piled up as resources to review the applications were scarce. However, Johns is optimistic that no more delays will be needed and asserts that the LGCB “lost about seven to ten days, but everything is back on track now.”
Out of the state’s 20 largest casinos, all of which could potentially offer sports betting, eight have applied for sports betting licenses, according to the LGCB. All 20 are automatically eligible for consideration because of their status in the state, which would greatly facilitate the issuance of a license. However, the regulator expects at least some of the others to join and thinks their applications will be delivered in the coming weeks. Land-based sportsbooks will be allowed first, with the possibility of online sports betting arriving within the next two to three months.