Supposedly, late is better than never. Such is the case for daily fantasy football enthusiasts in Louisiana.
With the NFL regular season set to end soon, the news that state lawmakers have approved fantasy sports regulations is bittersweet.
Now, DFS operators can start applying for licenses. And in 47 of 64 parishes in Louisiana, players will be able to participate in legal fantasy sports contests by the 2021-22 NFL season.
Lawmakers finish Louisiana fantasy sports regulations
In November 2018, voters in all but 17 of the state’s parishes voted to legalize DFS contests for money within their borders. However, over two years later, Louisiana has yet to roll out the vertical.
Recently, Louisiana House and Senate committees unanimously approved final regulations for DFS in the state. It’s still unclear exactly when DFS operators like DraftKings and FanDuel will actually start accepting paid entries in the appropriate parishes.
First, each potential operator needs to apply for a license. Then, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board will review the credentials and make a decision. Upon approval, the board will issue go-live authorization dates.
While fantasy NFL contests are the big-ticket item in the industry, daily fantasy games involve a wide array of sports. Louisianans might want to get in on fantasy NBA games, for example.
With the 2020-21 NBA regular season now underway, it’s doubtful that DFS players in the state will be able to capitalize on drafting New Orleans Pelicans players right away, for example. If the licensing process moves along quickly, however, they may be able to play most of the upcoming season.
Looking toward the future, this is either a bad omen or an encouraging sign. As with many other things, it all depends on your point of view.
What could this mean for sports betting’s rollout?
Last month, Louisiana voters in 55 parishes authorized sports betting. The question is, will it take another two years for state officials to finalize regulations for that gambling expansion?
The process will be quite similar. As a matter of fact, because sports betting will be a more robust product and involves the state’s riverboat casinos, legislators have more to consider.
All is not lost, though. In theory, hammering out these DFS regs gave lawmakers a “practice run” at sports betting rules. Therefore, they could have regulations for sportsbooks ready on the sooner end.
While Louisianans wait, DFS games could tide them over. Those should be available in most of the state soon. After two years of waiting, this NBA season could be a special one for Pelicans fans.