Louisiana sports betting to begin during football season

Louisiana

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP/KTAL) — A set of emergency rules were unanimously adopted by the board which moves up the date in which 20 brick and mortar casinos, including five in Shreveport-Bossier, can begin submitting their applications to legally take a sports wager.

The Gaming Control Board, without objection, approved regulations that allow Louisiana’s casinos and four racetracks to file their applications starting Monday for sports betting licenses.

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.

News outlets report the gambling board’s initial action Thursday will start a vetting process for temporary licenses at the casinos and racetracks.

Ronnie Johns, a former state senator and new chairman of the gambling board, said he’s hopeful the betting can begin by the middle of football season.

“This has been the No. 1 question asked of me: When is sports betting coming?” Johns told The News-Star. “We are behind our neighbor in Mississippi, but we’re going to try to catch up quickly.”

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.

The Advocate reports the head of the casino industry’s trade association thinks that some of the casinos will be able to take bets as soon as mid-September.

Wade Duty, the executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, said many of his members have prepared applications and will file them soon. As they are already licensed, the vetting process will be quicker.

“As far as timeline, I’d expect to see some of the brick and mortars ready by mid-September to take in-person, on-premises (wagers),” he said.

Betting in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol will be handled on about 1,000 kiosks, which will be overseen by the Louisiana Lottery Corp. The lottery is making its own rules for sports betting, separate from the gaming commission.

Those interested in placing bets will have to be 21 or older. No bets can be placed on high school or youth sports events. Athletes, coaches, and referees can’t bet on a sports event in which they are involved. People who live in parishes that did not approve sports betting can place wagers if they head to a parish where sports betting was legalized.

“I would expect starting Monday they will be getting those in,” said Wade Duty.

“And Louisiana State Police and the Attorney General’s Office will begin their reviewing process.”

The process will oversee accounting procedures, criminal backgrounds of employees, and the areas where the sports books will reside within the casinos.

“Regulators are advising a pretty quick turnaround time. They are thinking roughly 10 business days or possibly shorter to conduct their initial reviews,” said Duty.

“And then the brick and mortar casinos will have to demonstrate that they have all of the required elements in place. And then they’ll be able to go live.”

Pushing up the date when bets could be wagered inside casinos on sports.

“Best estimates at this time, and we haven’t been here before so this is kind of an estimate, I would think probably by mid-September to late September,” said Duty.

“[It’s then] You should see the first on-site retail opening up.”

A casino general manager who did not want to go on camera tells NBC 6 News it is expected more than $220 million will be wagered in Louisiana in the first calendar year sports betting is legal.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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