Texas residents have found a new reason to spend time – and money – in Louisiana.
Revenue reports from West Louisiana casinos show a high number of online sports bettors. This potentially adds credence to the theory that Texans are driving over the border to place bets in Louisiana.
And it’s not just Mattress Mack.
Texas, with a population of nearly 30 million, does not have legalized sports betting and likely won’t for some time. Meanwhile, Louisiana made the activity legal in November of 2021.
The L’Auberge Casino Resort and Golden Nugget in Lake Charles have each felt the impact of Texans according to Ronnie Johns, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
“They’re estimating 85 percent of their business comes out of Texas,” said Johns in a Gaming Today report.
“In terms of casino revenue, they’re the largest market because of the Texas bettors coming in. They cater to that Houston, East Texas, San Antonio market, so they do a lot of business.”
Lake Charles is less than an hour’s ride from Beaumont, Texas, and two and a half hours from Houston. Shreveport and its sister city, Bossier City, are a three-hour ride from Dallas.
Texas bettors fall into the nearly $143 million gambled online in Louisiana
The report cites numbers showing that the Lake Charles area had around 225,000 online sportsbook check-ins for a 30-day period ending May 27. Shreveport-Bossier City had twice as many.
Texas bettors can cross into Louisiana, confirm their geolocation, set up their accounts, and make bets despite having a Texas residency. It’s a little bit of a loophole, but one that sportsbooks and casinos happily exploit.
Both the L’Auberge Casino and Golden Nugget have retail (in-house) sportsbooks and online options. A third sportsbook is slated to open at the Horseshoe Casino in Lake Charles later this year.
Louisiana doesn’t give precise numbers, but the state has brought in an estimated $12.6 million in tax revenue from sports betting.
In May, a total of $28.5 million was gambled at retail sportsbooks and $142.6 million was gambled online. That online number would be where the Texas money enters the game.
Overall, Louisiana gambling numbers are tapering off
Even with the influx of Texas cash, Louisiana gambling numbers have begun to drop since the fanfare after the launch of mobile sports betting in November.
At the Louisiana Gaming Control Board meeting on Jun. 16, Johns said that the impact of inflation was being felt across the industry in the state.
From May 2021 to May 2022, riverboat casino revenue dropped 6.6% and revenue from racetrack slot machines was off by 11.1 percent.
Harrah’s, Louisiana’s only regulated land-based casino in New Orleans, had seen business drop off by 22.4% in that period.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board also suspended betting on leagues, organizations, teams, players, and events in Russia and Belarus in March.
Mattress Mack, a.k.a. Jim McIngvale, has acquired a certain level of fame after making a $5 million bet on the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. He drove into Louisiana with the idea that he would refund his customers through the winnings. He did not win.
According to Johns, Mattress Mack was planning a “significant” World Series future bet on the Houston Astros.