(The Center Square) – Mobile sports betting will go live in most of Louisiana on Friday with several online platforms cleared for launch.
Online sports betting will be available in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes that approved sports betting in November 2020, beginning 8 a.m. Friday. The state will allow each of the 20 approved licenses to run two online betting apps, though bettors must be physically present in an approved parish to place a wager.
Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chair Ronnie Johns signed licenses Wednesday for six online betting platforms, though he did not reveal which platforms will participate in the initial launch.
"Our goal was to have it available before the Super Bowl, so we were able to beat that target," Johns told the Daily Advertiser. "It will be ready for this weekend's NFL conference championship games."
BetMGM Louisiana, Caesars Sportsbook and BetRivers Louisiana have confirmed approval for Friday, while other top betting apps including FanDuel Louisiana and DraftKings Louisiana are expected to be among the first to launch, as well, Gaming Today reported.
“We’re proud that BetMGM will be in the first wave of operators to launch mobile sports betting in Louisiana this Friday,” BetMGM’s CEO Adam Greenblatt said in a statement Wednesday. “We thank both the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana State Police and look forward to parlaying BetMGM’s success in neighboring regions into a long, successful, and responsible relationship with sports fans in the state.”
The online gambling launch comes several months after in-person sports wagers became legal in Louisiana on Oct. 31. In November and December, the 11 participating casinos and race tracks generated more than $67 million in wagers and $10 million in net proceeds, resulting in a little over $1 million in taxes, according to a report from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
Sports betting outfits pay taxes on net proceeds after payouts, with in-person wagers taxed at 10% and mobile and online betting taxed at 15%. The mobile betting option is expected to greatly increase net proceeds and tax revenues.
The legislative fiscal office estimated all sports betting in the state will generate $30 million a year in new tax revenue. A quarter of the tax proceeds – or up to $20 million – will go to early childhood education. Another 10% is devoted to local governments and up to $500,000 will go to address gambling addiction.
Caesars Digital Co-President Eric Hession pointed to the popularity of sports betting at in-person venues in recent months as evidence the industry is just getting started.
“Caesars Sportsbook is ready for mobile sports betting’s debut in Louisiana on Friday. This is an opportunity we’ve been working toward for a long time,” Hession said in a statement. “We’ve seen tremendous interest in legal sports betting since the opening of our Caesars Sportsbooks at Harrah’s New Orleans and Horseshoe Bossier City. Come Friday, through the app, we’ll be able to offer even more opportunities to experience the thrill of sports wagering.”
Louisiana is expected to launch a third sports betting option at retail kiosks in bars and restaurants in March. The Louisiana Lottery will oversee that option and is seeking requests for proposals from vendors, according to the Daily Advertiser.
Parishes that opted out of sports betting include Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Sabine, Union, West Carrol and Winn.