Amid numerous disappointing delays, Oct. 6, 2021, may go down as one of the “bettor” days in the history of Louisiana gaming.
Retail sportsbook Betfred took the first in-person sports bet in Louisiana in the Draft Room at Marksville’s Paragon Casino Resort at 3 p.m.— making Betfred the first fully operational retail sportsbook in the state.
The Daily Advertiser reported that New Orleans Saints legend Joe Horn made the momentous first official wager: a long-odds, seven-team parlay.
After placing the next bet, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said, “I think it’s the shot in the arm, no pun intended, that we need coming out of COVID.”
In addition to full-service betting, the Draft Room offers more than 100 TVs, 3 VIP fan caves, slot machines and more.
How could Betfred offer LA sports betting already?
Betfred beat everybody to the Louisiana sports betting punch, including Caesars Sportsbook, Rush Street, IGT and WynnBet, among others. By integrating regulated wagering, it marks the state’s largest gaming expansion since the introduction of lottery, casinos and video poker in the early 1990s.
While other sports betting operators await the official launch date for commercial wagering, Betfred is ahead of the game. The bookmaker teamed with the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe, which owns Paragon. Different rules apply when a sportsbook is on tribal land.
“As a native Louisianan and Chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana,” said Marshall Pierite, chairman of the tribe, “I am thrilled to help usher in sports betting to our state.”
Mark Stebbings, COO of Betfred, added:
“Louisiana is an exciting opportunity for Betfred Sports… We look forward to utilizing our 50 years of bookmaking experience with our fantastic partner, Paragon Casino Resort, to bring the best sports betting experience to bettors in the state.”
The operator set of projected launch date of January 2022 for its Betfred Louisiana online sportsbook. Betfred believes it will be accessible throughout the state. However, Dawn Himel, deputy director for the Attorney General’s Gaming Division, told PlayLouisiana that tribal partners can only operate mobile betting on their respective tribal lands.
Draft Room welcomes UK-based Betfred to LA sports betting
Betfred is kind of a second-generation family business.
In 1967, brothers Fred and Peter Done — sons of a part-time bookmaker — launched Done Bookmakers. It began as a single betting shop in Northern England, funded by their winnings on a 1966 World Cup bet. It was rebranded as Betfred in 2004.
The company won a bid to buy the UK’s government-run betting service in the 2010s. Today, Betfred consists of 1,600 betting shops there. Their stated focus on customer service seems to have served them well.
Betfred’s expanded to the United States in 2020 and now operates in three other states: Colorado, Iowa and Pennsylvania. The bookmaker intends to launch in Arizona and Nevada.
Betfred offers chances to bet on many sports including football, baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey. The sportsbook also accepts wagers more niche markets like rugby, tennis, MMA, car racing, golf and even table tennis.
Betfred, using tech from Scientific Games’ OpenBet features In-Play betting, which the company describes as fun “on-the-fly [side] bets that resolve as a match progresses … winnings tally up in real time.”
Whether or not Betfred will offer this service in Louisiana isn’t known yet.