Commercial Louisiana Sports Betting Operators Will Have To Leave Out Tribal Lands

Posted on October 5, 2021

Native American tribes in Louisiana will have exclusivity for mobile sports betting on their tribal lands.

Commercial gaming operators in the Pelican State must geofence out tribal lands in addition to the nine parishes that voted against having sports wagering.

“The tribal lands are going to be geofenced just for that respective tribe,” Dawn Himel, deputy director for the Attorney General’s Gaming Division, told PlayLouisiana. “So only the Chitimacha can offer mobile sports betting on Chitimacha land, and only the Coushatta on Coushatta land.”

Louisiana tribes will be able to offer limited mobile sports betting

Operating under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and their compacts with the state, three of the four gaming tribes in Louisiana may offer sports betting on their reservations.

These three tribes may offer sports betting in Louisiana:

  • Chitimacha Tribe
  • Coushatta Tribe
  • Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe

Those three tribes have agreements with the state to offer Class III gaming under IGRA. Sports betting is a Class III game. Because the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians’ agreement is only for Class II games, it may not operate sports betting.

But it was previously unclear if the tribes could offer sports wagering through a mobile betting app in Louisiana, and to what extent.

Himel said the three tribes allowed to offer sports betting will be able to do so through a mobile app anywhere on their individual tribal lands. They cannot operate mobile wagering throughout the state.

“Tribes through IGRA and federal law and our compact, are allowed to engage in gaming on tribal lands only,” Himel said. “They are going to be allowed to do mobile gaming on their tribal lands, but it’s going to be geofenced for their tribal lands.”

What this means for commercial operators in Louisiana

In June, the Louisiana legislature passed legislation allowing the state’s one land-based casino, 15 riverboat casinos and four racetracks to offer retail and mobile sports betting.

Last November, Louisiana voters in 55 of 64 parishes approved sports betting. Once they begin offering mobile wagering, commercial operators partnered with these facilities must geofence out the nine parishes that voted against sports betting.

The following parishes forbid sports betting:

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • LaSalle
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

In addition, now we know the commercial operators will have to geofence out the four tribal lands in the state.

Last month, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved sports betting regulations. But the licensing and approval for launch process was delayed by Hurricane Ida. Regulators hope for sports betting to launch in the state sometime during the NFL season.

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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and

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