In November 2020, voters in 56 of 64 parishes gave a thumbs up to legalizing sports betting in Louisiana. While that was a significant hurdle to clear, there is still work to do before residents can legally and safely wager on sports. However, encouraging signs have emerged that point to the matter resolving in the near future, including the approval of emergency sports betting rules on Aug. 19, 2021.
As always, we have to tap the brakes until everything is official, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look ahead at what to expect in the market. What else needs to happen? Which Louisiana sportsbooks could be on the way? We have the answers to those questions and more in this guide to Louisiana sports betting.
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Louisiana. However, there are no legal sites or casino sportsbooks available in the state yet.
Voters gave a green light to sports betting in 2020. As such, the state Legislature was tasked to pass corresponding legislation. In this case, there were three bills. One bill passed through the state Legislature (HB697) in early June and was signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. The main regulatory bill (SB247) and the final appropriations bill passed on the last day of the session and were signed shortly thereafter.
The bills call for a total of 20 sports betting licenses, each of which can have two skins attached. Once everything is final, betting will be available in retail, online and mobile forms, but not everywhere in the state. Sports betting won’t be legal in the nine parishes that voted against it.
Key points from the three bills include:
- SB 142: Sports betting appropriations bill that covers disposition of funds.
- SB 247: Main regulatory bill that outlines the regulation of sports betting.
- HB 697: Bill covering the fee and tax structure for the industry in the state.
What still needs to happen?
In August 2021, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board signed off on emergency sports betting rules. It was a surprise of sorts since the state had been quiet for some time before the rules were released. It’s a good sign that Louisiana online sports betting might be available during the 2021 NFL regular season. But there is still work to be done.
Next up for the LGCB is licensing and applications from potential online sportsbooks (and retail books). In a perfect world, legal online sports betting will be good to go in Louisiana for the NFL season. Bettors will also be able to register online or in person.
Louisiana sports betting apps
Louisiana is a highly anticipated market for sports betting. The state has a rich sports history and is home to a popular tourist destination in New Orleans. It’s safe to assume, then, that many of the top names in the industry are eyeing the state as a great place to launch. Here are some of the most likely contenders to enter the market.
Whenever a new state is about to allow sports betting, it’s safe to assume that DraftKings Louisiana will at least be in the mix. The company has become one of the market leaders in sports betting in a number of legal states. A slick platform with a variety of features has certainly helped.
The same sentiments apply for FanDuel, the overall leader in the sports betting arms race in terms of revenue. The FanDuel Louisiana app itself is very easy to use and has everything you’ll need within reach via a simple click or swipe.
The presence of BetMGM continues to grow as it has its sights set on the top of the sports betting charts. The parent company operates the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino across the border in Biloxi, which hosts its own retail sportsbook. As such, the state can expect BetMGM Louisiana to showcase its deep roster of sports betting markets in the Bayou State, too.
The name Caesars Sportsbook is synonymous with sports betting thanks to an acquisition of William Hill’s US operations. Considering that Caesars owns and operates Harrah’s New Orleans, it is a sure bet you’ll find this app in the state.
Since entering the US in 2019, the Australia-based PointsBet Sportsbook has expanded at a rapid rate. Strategic partnerships have helped attract customers, and they’ve been sticking around after seeing all the company has to offer.
Other sportsbook apps anticipated in Louisiana
Barstool Sportsbook: Barstool’s media presence continues to increase, and the company has entered the sports betting scene via a deal with Penn National Gaming. Since Penn operates several casinos in Louisiana, the state makes for a natural fit.
Golden Nugget Sportsbook: Golden Nugget Lake Charles is a popular waterfront destination as it is, and the introduction of a retail sportsbook would only enhance the experience. An expansion over to a Golden Nugget Louisiana app seems more than likely if that comes to pass.
TwinSpires Sportsbook: Formerly known as BetAmerica, this Churchill Downs-owned brand also already has a built-in pathway toward Louisiana sports betting. Churchill is the owner of Fair Grounds, a popular racino in New Orleans.
How to start betting online in Louisiana
In many of the legal states to date, it’s possible to register remotely at an online sportsbook. There have been a few outliers like Illinois that require an in-person visit to a casino to register, and Iowa had a similar rule in place on a temporary basis. In Louisiana, it looks like sports bettors can register online or in-person, as per an amendment to one of the bills. Remote registration is the more convenient option.
When signing up to play online remotely, the process is quick and painless. You simply have to follow the prompts and provide the necessary information:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Last four digits of your Social Security number
After you’ve entered all of the information and checked off the relevant boxes, the sportsbook will create your new account instantly. If you encounter any hang-ups due to trouble confirming your age or identity, you’ll receive a prompt to resolve them.
In order to play in a legal state, there aren’t any residency requirements, but you do need to be within state lines when placing bets. To confirm that you are, sportsbooks use geolocation tracking software to verify. If you aren’t there, then bets won’t go through.
How licensing works in Louisiana
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will be in charge of sports betting in the state. While some of the finer points may remain in flux, the main legal framework is in place:
- There will be 20 sports betting licenses available for existing retail gambling facilities.
- Each licensee will be allowed to have two online skins.
- The state will tax retail sports betting at a rate of 10%.
- The tax rate for online sports betting will be 15%.
- Initial license applications will cost $250,000.
- A five-year license will cost $500,000.
- For platform providers, it’s $100,000 for the application fee and $250,000 for a five-year license.
- Service providers have to pay $10,000 for the application and $12,500 for a five-year license.
- Distributors will need to pay a $5,000 application fee and $2,500 for a five-year license.
According to state Rep. John Stefanski, a sponsor of HB 697, Louisiana could generate as much as $20 million annually from sports betting revenue. A proposed Sports Wagering Enforcement Fund would take in the fees, with the final allocation sorted out per the passage of SB 142.
Louisiana parishes with no legal sports betting
While the majority of Louisiana voters gave the nod to legal sports betting on the November 2020 ballot, it won’t be available in every part of the state. Of the 64 parishes across the state, 55 voted yes and nine voted no. Here are the parishes that voted no:
- La Salle
- West Carroll
Sportsbooks will use geolocation tracking to block all online and mobile sports betting in those locations. Louisiana will be unique in that regard. To date, geolocation in the US has only prevented betting on a full state basis, such as stopping a bettor from New Jersey from placing bets in neighboring New York. As in that scenario, users who are in one of the blocked parishes will receive a notification that they can’t bet.
Who can bet on sports in Louisiana?
Most likely only those who are 21 and older can bet on sports in Louisiana. As sports betting legislation creeps toward the goal line in Louisiana, there are still some items for the state to address. One of the key issues will be the legal age for betting on sports. In the majority of legal states to date, the minimum age is 21, but a few have gone with 18.
In Louisiana, the legal age to play casino games, poker, and the lottery is 21, but bingo and horse or dog racing allow bettors to be 18 and older. We’ll have to wait for the final legislation for clarity, but using the legal age for casino gambling seems likely. Beyond the age requirement, we can expect Louisiana to follow other precedents from legal sports betting states.
- Those who are on self-exclusion lists for problem gambling will not be able to bet on sports.
- Affiliated personnel — coaches, players, officials, executives, etc. — cannot place wagers involving their own sports.
Sports betting partnerships in Louisiana
Sports betting continues to go mainstream, and pro teams and leagues are no longer keeping their distance. In fact, sportsbooks have signed a variety of marketing deals with leagues and teams recently, including the NFL hooking up with Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel as its official sports betting partners.
The trend has extended to local teams, as well. In 2018, both the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans linked with Harrah’s New Orleans as the official casino sponsor of the teams. More recently, there have been rumblings that Caesars will be taking over the naming rights for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Looking ahead, it’s certainly possible that we’ll see additional deals in place with other Louisiana-based casinos and sportsbooks.
Futures and prop betting in Louisiana
Options abound at legal sportsbooks. From the various games and events to the many ways to wager, there are plenty of choices to make. On the betting front, moneylines, point spreads, and totals are the main options, but you’ll find other choices, as well.
At the top of the list of other wagers are futures and props. Futures bets allow you to wager on season-long outcomes and major championships and events. Odds will become available in the offseason, with options increasing as the starting date approaches. Top options for futures include the following:
- Super Bowl
- NBA Finals
- World Series
- Stanley Cup
- College Football Playoffs
- March Madness
- Golfing majors
- Tennis Grand Slams
- Daytona 500
You’ll also find futures for team regular-season win totals in all of the major sports, as well as the winners of individual awards like the NFL MVP or college football’s Heisman Trophy.
As for props, you can think of them as side bets on things that may or may not happen during a game. You can see what’s available by clicking on individual contest listings at an online sportsbook. The more popular the sport, the more props you’ll see. Many of the top options will be wagers on individual players:
- How many combined yards for Alvin Kamara — over/under 119.5?
- Will Zion Williamson record a double-double — yes/no?
- Who will record more strikeouts — Lance McCullers or Kyle Gibson?
You’ll also see props with odds for more than two options, such as touchdown scorers for an NFL game or the player to score the first basket in an NBA game.
Live betting in LA
Based on what we’ve seen in other states, you won’t be lacking for options once online sports betting goes live in Louisiana. You’ll even be able to keep wagering once the games begin. That’s thanks to live betting, an increasingly popular option for sports betting.
Also known as in-game betting, these are wagers that you can place in real time as the action is playing out. It’s a very fast-moving market that’s available at all the top sportsbooks. You’ll find a dedicated section for current and upcoming live betting options. Odds and offerings may vary based on what’s happening, but here are some examples of what you’ll see:
- Which side will hold the halftime lead — New Orleans Saints or Houston Texans?
- How many total points for the New Orleans Pelicans in the second half — over/under 54.5?
- What will be the result of this Jose Altuve at-bat — hit/walk/out?
Additionally, you’ll see updated game lines for the main bets, providing you the chance to adjust your initial game strategy if you wish. While live betting can be a fun and exciting way to wager, be sure to stick to a plan and not get too swept up in the action.
Louisiana sports teams to bet on
In terms of both overall interest and betting volume, it’s the NFL and NBA that top the charts across the US. Louisiana has both bases covered, and its teams have passionate followings across the state.
- NFL: New Orleans Saints
- NBA: New Orleans Pelicans
For those looking for even more options, neighboring Texas has a variety of teams in all of the major North American pro sports:
- NFL: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans
- NBA: Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs
- MLB: Houston Astros, Texas Rangers
- NHL: Dallas Stars
- MLS: Austin FC, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo FC
With LSU leading the way, college sports are also popular in Louisiana. We’ll have to wait and see, however, if the state adopts any restrictions for betting on college sports. While you can bet on college football and basketball in all legal states to date, some don’t allow wagering on in-state teams or events. For instance, NJ sports betting apps exclude bets on in-state teams and games played in the state.
Beyond the major team sports, there are plenty of other options, including golf, tennis, NASCAR and the UFC. If you want to go even deeper with smaller sports, you’ll find things like rugby and table tennis. In short, you won’t be lacking for options when sports betting goes live in Louisiana.
What’s legal and illegal to bet on in Louisiana
As we await the official unveiling of sports betting in Louisiana, there are still questions on what you’ll be able to wager on (aka the rules). The major sports are no-brainers, and popular niche sports that have gained traction in other markets will also likely be available. For the former category, think NFL and NBA, while the latter includes smaller sports like cricket and darts. The big open question is exactly how the state will handle wagering on college sports.
Looking at other states, there’s no betting on in-state college teams or games in New Jersey, while Colorado sports betting does not allow prop bets for college sports. A number of other states, including Pennsylvania, have no such restrictions in place.
Beyond the college sports factor, we can expect Louisiana to follow other states and ban betting on high school sports or on competitions involving athletes younger than 18. Additionally, sports betting will likely be limited to actual competitions, so there will be no wagering on things like the Oscars, elections, or reality television.
Where to bet on sports in Louisiana
SB 247, the main regulatory bill for Louisiana sports betting, calls for the establishment of 20 sports betting licenses, each of which will allow for a pair of online skins. The licenses will be for existing gambling facilities, of which there are an abundance across the state. In fact, there are 24 casinos and 25 video poker locations throughout the state. For starters, leaving out the eight parishes that voted against sports betting, we’ll consider the land-based and Native American-operated venues as potential applicants, as well as four racinos.
- Harrah’s, New Orleans
- Coushatta Casino Resort, Kinder
- Paragon Casino Resort, Marksville
- Jena Choctaw Pines Casino, Dry Prong
- Cypress Bayou Casino, Charenton
- Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Bossier City
- Delta Downs, Vinton
- Fair Grounds, New Orleans
- Evangeline Downs, Opelousas
Next, Louisiana is home to a number of riverboat casinos.
- Boomtown Bossier, Bossier City
- Eldorado Resort, Shreveport
- Horseshoe, Bossier City
- Diamond Jacks, Bossier City
- Sam’s Town, Shreveport
- Margaritaville, Bossier City
- Isle of Capri, Lake Charles
- L’Auberge Casino Resort, Lake Charles
- Golden Nugget, Lake Charles
- Amelia Belle, Amelia
- Boomtown, New Orleans
- Treasure Chest, Kenner
- Belle of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge
- Hollywood Casino, Baton Rouge
- L’Auberge Casino Resort, Baton Rouge
Additionally, the state is home to a number of off-track betting venues that operate under The Finish Line brand name. There are also various locations with on-site video poker machines, many of which operate as Cash Magic Truck Plaza & Casino. The state lottery is also looking to get involved with the placement of kiosks in bars and restaurants.
In short, there are plenty of spots that could be in the running for a retail sportsbook in Louisiana. The list doesn’t even include the potential that the state will follow the lead of others and allow books in sports arenas. Meanwhile, there are 23 different locations that offer sports betting in Mississippi, the state directly east of Louisiana. To the north, Arkansas sports betting includes just one retail sportsbook (no online books). Mississippi allows bets online but only while at a casino.
What does this mean for Louisiana? A full slate of online and retail betting in the Bayou State definitely gives it a leg up on its neighbors.