The Gaming Control Board approved emergency rules on Thursday that will help bring sports betting to Louisiana as early as next month. Advocates of sports betting will be encouraged by the timing of the decision, as it allows bettors in the state to enjoy sports betting just in time for the start of the 2021 National Football League season. While the approval of the emergency rules bodes well for the immediate future, it leaves lawmakers with deadline for finalizing official sports betting rules in the state. The official draft of the rules could potentially bring a variety of sports betting options. Options that many believe are well overdue.
Approved Legislation and Emergency Rules
Sports betting in the Bayou State became a reality last fall, when 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted to approve the legalization of sports betting. Under the approved legislation, those interested in betting in the state must be 21 or older and must place wagers in a parish that approved sports betting. Anyone who lives in a parish that did not approve sports betting, must travel to a parish that did approve it in order to place their wagers. Bets may be placed on any professional sporting events, but wagers on youth or high school sporting events are prohibited. Athletes, coaches, and referees are prohibited from placing wagers on events that they are involved in.
Officials believe that the launch of sport betting will bring in some much-needed revenue to benefit a number of programs in the state. As part of the legalization process, lawmakers have outlined how projected revenue can be used toward managing the state’s budge, assisting local governments, and even funding early childhood education. The board’s decision to move forward with the proposed emergency rules are the first step toward generating these funds.
On Thursday, the Gaming Control Board unanimously approved regulations to set sports betting in motion. Under the approved emergency rules, Louisiana’s Big 20 casinos and the state’s four racetracks can begin filing applications as early as this week for sports betting licenses. The state’s existing gaming establishments will have the upper hand in the initial launch for sports betting, as many of them have the necessary licenses and have been approved by the board to offer gaming to residents. The approved emergency rules are temporary and will only be in effect for 180 days. Before that window closes, officials must move forward with permanent rules for sports betting in the state.
Room to Grow
Unfortunately, it will be some time before bettors in Louisiana can expect to begin placing bets on popular online gambling sites and mobile applications like DraftKings and FanDuel. According to Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Gaming Control Board, the launch of these popular applications could take a few additional months. Online vendors will have to go through a suitability and licensing processing themselves, a process that many of the existing gaming establishments have already faced.
Despite the slow start to sports betting in the state, many believe that Louisiana could see an expansion to include betting in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in the very near future. The state plans to use kiosks overseen by the Louisiana Lottery Corp. to facilitate this type of betting. The state plans to deploy as many as 1,000 of these machines throughout bars and restaurants in the state. The lottery is responsible for creating its own rules for sports betting on these machines, and those rules will be entirely independent of the gaming commission’s.
Louisiana is rapidly falling behind other states throughout the country who have approved and launched sports betting of their own, including neighboring Mississippi. Officials believe that the approval of the emergency rules will help the Bayou State get back on track, as they prepare to expand sports betting to kiosks in bars and restaurants and online sportsbooks in the coming years. Lawmakers will be working against the clock to approve the final rules for sports betting within the next six months. In the meantime, bettors can enjoy betting on their favorite sports, like the upcoming NFL season, under the emergency rules put in place.