Approval of first applications for legal sports betting in Louisiana delayed due to Hurricane Ida

Louisiana

FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2019, file photo, a gambler making a sports bet at Bally’s casino in Atlantic City, N.J. The NFL draft starting on Thursday, April 23, 2020, is expected to be the most heavily wagered-on draft ever, mainly because virtually all major sporting events have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Legal sports betting won’t be available at any casinos or sports betting businesses in Louisiana in time for the kick-off of the NFL season Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Dallas Cowboys, thanks to Hurricane Ida.

Last month, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board moved up the date Louisiana’s casinos and racetracks could start filing applications to August 23 and the first authorizations were expected to start coming through in mid-September, but Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty says Hurricane Ida has pushed everything back by about ten business days.

Now, Duty says, the first temporary licenses could come through toward the end of the month.

The state’s 20 casinos and racetracks, including five in Shreveport-Bossier, will be among the first to get authorization to begin taking sports wagers because they have already met the requirements for suitability and background checks. Wade said those that do not will take longer to be verified through the investigative and regulatory process.

Eventually, the wagering also is expected to expand to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in the 55 parishes where voters agreed to allow the betting sites. But that’s coming later.

Voters in 55 of 64 parishes agreed to legalize sports betting on live-action games last fall. Lawmakers set up the framework to regulate and tax sports wagers in their most recent legislative session.

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