If you live in one of the 55 Louisiana parishes that voted to legalize sports betting last year, it’s now easier to prognosticate whether any brick-and-mortar sportsbooks could be opening in your neighborhood in the coming months. The enabling legislation spelling out exactly how many Louisiana sports betting licenses will be available and who can apply them is now in place.
The same legislation also specifies which governing body will decide on license applications. Work remains to get those license applications into the hands of interested parties, however. Additionally, there’s no telling how quickly approvals might come.
How many Louisiana sports betting licenses will be available?
With LA Gov. John Bel Edwards’ signature now on necessary laws, the answer to this question is more about who than how many. The law lays out a path for many parties in the state to become stakeholders in the industry on some level.
First off, there are 20 licenses available for the state’s riverboat casinos, racetracks, and Harrah’s New Orleans. Each of those licensees can contract with up to two managed service providers. Examples of operators that would fit that bill include DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Additionally, the LA Lottery can also partner with a similar company. That creates the potential for as many as 41 managed service provider licenses. Then, smaller businesses like bars, restaurants, and truck stops in relevant parishes can apply for clearance to install betting kiosks in their properties.
Finally, a contingency provision in the law could affect this number as well. The law states that if any of the 20 casino/racino licenses aren’t claimed by New Year’s Day 2022, daily fantasy sports operators and video lottery terminal operators can apply for the remaining available licenses.
That means on some level, the LA Gaming Control Commission could potentially issue thousands of licenses over the following months. Who is most likely to apply for those licenses, though?For now, expect the expected.
So far, no surprising news out of LA
With up to 41 online sportsbook “skins” available, it’s hard to see how any of the national sports betting brands won’t at least try to get into LA. Some have a more visible path than others, however. For example, Caesars Online Sportsbook is in given how they already operate the only land-based casino in the state.
Penn National Gaming also operates several riverboat casinos in LA, meaning a clear entry point for Barstool Sportsbook. Churchill Downs runs the Fair Grounds racino in New Orleans, creating a path for Twinspires Sportsbook. Golden Nugget can bring its sports betting product into LA through its riverboat casino moored in Lake Charles as well.
Other gambling companies already in the state include Boyd Gaming and Bally’s Corporation. Boyd could bring FanDuel Sportsbook to LA, as its properties in four other states already feature FanDuel-branded operations. Bally’s will probably bring its own wagering platform, Bally Bet.
The lottery could follow a similar path and build a proprietary product in combination with a current vendor, Intralot. Intralot provides sports betting services for the DC Lottery and the state-run platform in Montana. There’s no guarantee the lottery will take that path, however.
Also among the wild cards right now are who would provide services for betting kiosks and VLT machines should those come to fruition in the relevant parishes. The Commission will determine that at the appropriate time.
Given the number of potential places to place a bet in person, the 55 parishes could have an embarrassment of riches in that regard. Still, this conversation isn’t complete without mentioning the places in LA where you won’t find such amenities.
Sports venues on the outside looking in
The enabling legislation doesn’t allow any of the state’s collegiate or professional sports franchises to apply for sports betting licenses. In other jurisdictions like Arizona, Illinois, and Maryland, either those enterprises or the owners of the venues where the relevant events take place can get in on bookmaking.
That means barring any future revisions to the law, you won’t find any full-service sportsbooks at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or the Smoothie King Center. That doesn’t mean the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints won’t be involved at all, though.
They could follow the example of other organizations and contract with sportsbooks just for cross-promotional purposes. That may or may not involve “betting lounges” at the aforementioned venues. Those are areas with a lot of the aesthetics of a sportsbook but all the wagering happens online as opposed to through a betting window.
Either way, such partnerships will likely include a barrage of marketing for the appropriate sportsbooks aimed at fans during games and on teams’ digital properties. There should certainly be no lack of options for Louisianans to place bets in the 55 affirming parishes. The new license structure is quite wide open.