When Halloween arrives Sunday, there could be more than just costume parties and trick-or-treating.
On Friday, Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, signed off on four sports betting licenses that will allow four commercial casinos in the state to open retail sportsbooks.
As a result, those four properties could start taking the first legal bets in Louisiana as early as Sunday morning. In addition, the Louisiana State Police continue to review nine other licenses.
Four Louisiana casinos receive sports betting licenses
Both Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming saw two properties earn sports betting licenses on Friday.
Those land-based and riverboat casinos include:
- Harrah’s New Orleans
- Horseshoe Casino
- L’Auberge Casino
- Boomtown Casino
“It was a good day, excited that we got something started,” Johns told Legal Sports Report.
“This morning the state police sent over the recommendation to license these four casinos. We’re moving forward with the outstanding applications and hopefully, within the next few days, we’ll roll out another batch.”
Johns said that Caesars Sportsbook intends to open retail wagering Sunday, at both Harrah’s New Orleans and Horseshoe Casino. As Johns noted to Legal Sports Report, the timing is was perfect for brick-and-mortar sports betting to begin.
“I got to thinking about it, the Saints play Tampa Bay in New Orleans Sunday. It’s a big game. It’s an ideal time to roll out.”
As for Penn National’s properties, L’Auberge and Boomtown expect to open retail sportsbooks on Monday.
Louisiana now with more retail sports betting options
When Caesars and Penn National begin accepting physical bets, those four properties will join Paragon Casino Resort as the only casinos with legal sports betting.
The tribal-owned Paragon opened its Betfred Sportsbook earlier this month. It was able to do so because tribal operations do not fall under the jurisdiction, and therefore do not need approval from, the LGCB.
This does seem even remotely close to the end of the line for commercial retail wagering in Louisiana. As noted, the State Police are currently reviewing nine other licenses. Louisiana has carved out brick-and-mortar licenses for 12 other riverboat casinos as well as four racetracks.
Getting retail sports betting up and running certainly feels like a win for regulators, especially with most of the NFL and college football seasons still remaining. And especially after Hurricane Ida delayed the vetting and approval process for licensing.
That said, the launch of Louisiana mobile betting apps still appears a ways off.
Online sports betting in Louisiana targets early 2022 launch
State law authorizes each of the 20 licensees to roll out two online skins apiece. It also allows the Louisiana Lottery to launch a mobile betting app of its own.
However, those hoping to pull out their phones and place online wagers anytime soon will be disappointed. Johns told Legal Sports Report that the Pelican State hopes to get mobile betting off the ground by Jan. 1, 2022.
While online bets will not be accepted until that time, several operators could “pre-launch” so as to build their customer bases.
For example, Caesars Louisiana made its betting app available to users in the state with sign-up and deposit bonuses. No doubt, we can expect similar approaches by the likes of DraftKings Louisiana and FanDuel Sportsbook LA. Each of those operators has already debuted their daily fantasy sports offerings, so it would make sense for them to get in on the ground floor of Louisiana sports betting, as well. Meanwhile, the BetMGM Sportsbook Louisana app is also ready to launch.
While it remains to be seen what other brands will go live in Louisiana, several operators have market access to the state. They include:
- BetMGM Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- WynnBet Sportsbook
- Bally Bet