Hope Springs: Louisiana Looks To April For Launch Of Legal Daily Fantasy Sports

Posted on January 29, 2021 - Last Updated on February 12, 2021

Louisiana approved daily fantasy sports over two years ago, or at least most of the state did.

At long last, operators looking to launch fantasy sites in the Pelican State can soon start applying to do so.

It will still take a little longer before Louisianians can actually begin drafting their fantasy lineups, though. Look to April and the start of the MLB season (or soon after) as the earliest the first DFS sites go live.

DFS operators can apply starting Feb. 19

After years of waiting, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) officially adopted final regulations and the licensing application for fantasy sports.

The decision came last week, more than two years after voters in 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved a referendum to legalize fantasy sports.

As the Associated Press reported, Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police’s Gaming Enforcement Division informed the LGCB last week that operators can begin submitting their applications Feb. 19.

From there, the Louisiana State Police will need to conduct their own suitability investigations before applicants can appear before regulators. Those checks take 60-90 days, which means April or May before the first applications receive approval and official licensing.

The delay has caused big players like DraftKings and FanDuel to steer clear of Louisiana. It is unknown when those sites intend to launch in the approved Louisiana parishes. Although one can assume they will be at the front of the line for licenses.

What will Louisiana DFS look like?

It was back in November 2018 when voters in those 47 parishes approved legalizing daily fantasy sports.

Yet it wasn’t until December 2020 that the relevant House and Senate committees unanimously approved those rules.

Those rules include:

  • Participants must be at least 21 years old
  • Contests cannot involve high school or youth sports
  • The state will collect 8% tax on revenue from daily fantasy sports contests
  • Fantasy players can only play when located in the 47 parishes

Regarding that last provision, anyone in Louisiana will be able to have a fantasy sports account. However, the games will only be permitted in the 47 parishes where fantasy sports has been authorized.

Louisiana sports betting next up for regulators

In November 2020, Louisiana voters in 55 parishes voted in favor of legalizing sports betting. Lawmakers must still pass further legislation before sports betting can launch in the state.

With various regulations still to be set, it likely means late 2021 or 2022 before sports betting goes live in Louisiana.

The precedent of regulators needing two-plus years to create and finalize rules for fantasy sports does not necessarily bode well for those hoping to bet on the New Orleans Saints during the 2021 NFL season. But one can certainly hope the LGCB learned its lesson.

Photo by AP / Gerry Broome
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