Things are looking up at Evangeline Downs. With the opening of its FanDuel sportsbook on Dec. 17, the casino and racetrack in Opelousas joined the Louisiana lineup of properties offering sports betting.
This follows on the heels of a boom Nov. launch with initial sports betting revenues in the state finishing at over $5 million.
Evangeline Downs is the second racino and one of 13 gaming establishments with sportsbook licenses in the state. The other four most recently approved by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Dec. 3 and signed off by Board chair Ronnie Johns are:
- Sam’s Town, Shreveport
- Treasure Chest, Kenner
- Amelia Belle, Amelia
- Delta Downs, Vinton
Boyd Gaming owns all five properties.
FanDuel Evangeline opening optimism
After the inaugural red-ribbon cutting, Louisiana Hall of Famer and former Saints and LSU running back Dalton Hilliard placed the first bet at the FanDuel Louisiana launch.
Loyalty and sentiment factored into that first wager. Hilliard went with the Saints in their game with Tampa because, he said, having played with the team for eight years, “I’m betting with my heart. Also, I think they have the ability to win, the talent to win.”
Also in attendance, Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor, State Representative Mike Huval and interim St. Landry Parish President Jessie Bellard.
Mayor Alsandor lauded the sportsbook as a great thing that might lead to new businesses coming to the area. He called it “an exciting time for us.”
KTAX reported on the sentiments of Anthony Breaux, Boyd Gaming Director of Marketing:
“…Not only are we going to have the excitement of people watching live sports in here, but new people are going to bet and what’s so amazing is it’s going to bring new people in.”
Breaux pointed out some of the advantages of in-person sports betting:
“What’s great is we have people here that understand what sports betting is about, so you don’t have to do it privately and do all this separate research…You can have some help to get your bet placed, and then you can actually watch the games on big TVs and have that gameday experience. So it’s a whole different dynamic. There might be convenience on the other side, but the experience is right here.”
Evangeline’s FanDuel sportsbook features:
- 28,000 square feet
- 3 live betting windows
- 14 self-service betting terminals
- 24 video terminals
- Seating for 85+ visitors
Betting possibilities include the very popular parlays, single bets, spreads, and more.
The revenue race is on
St. Landry approved sports betting in a Nov. 2020 referendum, one of 55 parishes that did so.
Since then, Louisiana sports betting fans have waited through seemingly endless delays like a Board resignation, hurricanes, and the pandemic.
Approvals finally started, were interrupted post-Hurricane Ida, and then started again. The first retail sportsbook launched on Halloween, 2021.
If first-month revenue figures for sports betting indicate a coming trend, then it may prove a real plus for many. Benefits abound not only for fans but also for casinos and the beneficiaries of the taxes paid. Early childhood education receives 25% of taxes paid by casinos and sportsbooks.
KFLY reported via the Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s data that the state’s casino sportsbooks operating in Nov. took in more than $5.6 million in revenue. Bets amounted to more than $27 million-plus.
That comes to almost $570,000 in taxes paid.
Where to place a bet
Louisiana casinos, retail and tribal, currently operating in-person sportsbooks include:
- Paragon Casino Resort, Marksville
- Boomtown Casino and Hotel, New Orleans
- Golden Nugget, Lake Charles
- Harrah’s New Orleans
- Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel and Casino
- L’Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge
- L’Auberge Casino Resort, Lake Charles
- Margaritaville Resort Casino, Bossier City
- Boomtown Casino & Hotel, Bossier City
- Coushatta Casino Resort, Kinder