States all across the country have been making a decision on legalizing sports betting, and that topic was on the table in the state of Louisiana as well. Sports betting fans have been voicing their frustration over not getting a deal done yet in Louisiana, but it looked as though that was going to change this spring. There was a bill introduced that would have let the voters decide on the issue, but that bill eventually got squashed before even going to the governor. Most people won’t consider the state of Louisiana as a great sports state, but don’t tell that to the locals. The city of New Orleans is one of the most vibrant cities in the country, and they have some pretty good sports teams as well. Fans of the Saints and Pelicans would love to be able to place bets while watching their favorite teams play, but it’s not going to happen this season. Even though this issue appears to be put aside for now, look for the discussion to heat up again in Louisiana.
AT A GLANCE
Status of Betting AT A GLANCE: Voters across the state of Louisiana supported a bill that would legalize daily fantasy sports, but the legislature failed to implement the change in the spring of 2019. The state was also trying to get a bill passed that would legalize sports betting throughout the state, but that bill failed as well. It appears that 2020 might be the most realistic chance for Louisiana to legalize sports betting, but there are still plenty of issues that stand in the way.
Where to Bet AT A GLANCE: State lawmakers seem to be in agreement that sports betting would have to be done at brick and mortar locations. Usually that means that casinos will get the first chance to purchase a sports betting license, and there are 20 commercial casinos throughout the state. Mobile/online betting is the best place to make a bet in most states, but that likely won’t be an option in Louisiana for a long time.
Teams AT A GLANCE: The state of Louisiana doesn’t have a ton of teams to root for, but there is a great following for the teams that they do have. The city of New Orleans is home to a team in both the NBA and NFL, and the Saints have been a Super Bowl contender in the last few seasons. Don’t be surprised if the Pelicans start to gain popularity throughout the state in the next few years as well.
Status of Sports Betting
The state of Louisiana looked like they were going to become the next state to legalize sports betting, but things fell apart rather quickly. Voters took to the polls last fall to approve a daily fantasy sports tax, and it felt like sports betting would soon follow. There was a bill introduced this spring that would have once again let the decision to legalize sports betting up to the voting parishes, but that bill never really gained any steam. With lawmakers in Louisiana taking the summer off, it doesn’t appear as the sports betting enthusiasts in the Pelican State are going to get their wish anytime soon.
Senator Danny Martiny introduced Bill S 153 to the Senate in April, and the bill quickly passed through. The bill legalized sports betting throughout the state of Louisiana, but would require voters to pass it in each parish. Martiny looked at other bills in other states to come up with the language for his proposal, and it was going to leave the betting operations up to the casinos that are located throughout the state. Unfortunately, the bill ran into some trouble in the Louisiana House, and it became pretty clear that nothing was going to get passed.
The state of Louisiana was looking to bring in more revenue, and sports betting definitely accomplishes that. Voters across the state approved a bill that would make daily fantasy sports legal in Louisiana, but lawmakers didn’t act on that during the spring session either. The casinos obviously wanted to protect themselves and keep their business, but the state was going to allow them to be the first to offer sports betting. Online or mobile betting wasn’t even a part of the discussion, but that could always change in the future. It appears that sports betting is dead in Louisiana for the time being, but expect the discussion to heat back up then the general assembly meets again next March.
Where to Bet Sports
Since the proposed sports betting bill fell apart rather quickly, it is hard to figure out exactly where the top places to bet on sports will be. The initial bill planned to allow the commercial casinos to purchase licenses to take bets, and there are currently 20 of them scattered throughout the state of Louisiana. Let’s take a look at three of the biggest and most popular casinos in the state as they will likely be the ones who are applying for a sports betting license if that ever becomes an option to them.
Harrah’s Casino New Orleans: Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans is just one of three land based casinos in the state of Louisiana. Harrah’s has a 115,000 square foot gaming floor, and there is room to convert some of that space into a sportsbook that can offer betting. Another thing that should make this location one of the leaders in sports betting is because it is located in the city of New Orleans with two professional sports teams playing close by. Harrah’s has some sportsbook operations in other states that do allow sports betting, and it likely wouldn’t take them long to get a sportsbook up and running in New Orleans.
L’Auberge du Lac, Lake Charles, LA: This location is the closest thing to Vegas that is inside the state of Louisiana. This is a popular location for people from Houston, Texas to visit, and it is a full-service resort along with a riverboat casino. L’Auberge du Lac is not even close to as big as Harrah’s Casino, but sports bettors might prefer the more up-scale atmosphere. This location would have to partner with a major sports betting company if they wanted to open up a sportsbook, but there is no doubt that there would be willing partners. Since Texas doesn’t seem to be legalizing sports betting anytime soon, then this could bring in some extra revenue for the state.
Margaritaville Resort Casino, Bossier City, LA: If you do a quick search for the top casinos in the state of New Orleans, you will likely see Margaritaville Resort Casino at the top of the list. Bossier City, Louisiana has six casinos within the city limits, but this one is without a doubt the most popular. This is a major tourist attraction in the state, and there is little doubt that the Margaritaville Resort Casino would love to get their hands on some sports betting money. There is plenty of space to open up a sportsbook on-site, but they would need to find a partner to get things going.
Fantasy Sports Bill Fails To Pass: Despite a massive effort by major sports betting companies like FanDuel and DraftKings, the fantasy sports bill didn’t pass through the Louisiana state senate. Voters across the state had already shown their support for this bill, and all that was needed was a positive vote from the senate. There were religious and conservative groups that had opposed the bill, but the majority of the state was in favor of this bill because of the taxes that would generate revenue for the state. It is likely that this will be a hot topic of debate in the Louisiana legislature when they reconvene in March 2020.
Louisiana Needs To Raise the Fantasy Sports Tax: An article published in The Advocate on May 25 called for the state to raise the proposed tax on fantasy sports betting. 47 of 64 parishes voted in favor of the new bill, but there was still some tinkering that needed to be done. A 15 percent tax would be imposed, with 10 percent of that money going to fund early childhood education programs throughout the state. People who are against this bill want to see that tax almost doubled to bring in more funds for other projects as well.
SEC Keeping an Eye on Gambling Industry: College football is king in the south, especially in the Southeastern Conference. The LSU Tigers are always one of the top teams in this conference, and conference officials are worried about negative effects on their sport with states legalizing sports betting. The conference has had multiple discussions surrounding this issue, and they will continue to monitor the situation as the season kicks off in 2019. The reporting of injuries is one thing that will need to be discussed and figured out as it could have huge impacts on the betting lines. There will be plenty of betting action on SEC football games in all of the states where betting is legal.
Sports Teams That Drive Betting
The state of Louisiana might not be known for sports throughout the country, but they have a couple of terrific professional franchises. All of the major teams are located in the city of New Orleans, and that city supports their teams like crazy. New Orleans is most known for Mardi Grad and partying, but there are a few teams that would drive sports betting if it becomes legal throughout the state.
The New Orleans Pelicans are the NBA representative in the state of Louisiana and they are extremely popular throughout the state. The Pelicans haven’t had a ton of success in recent seasons, but Zion Williamson is set to arrive in the city of New Orleans. If sports betting ever becomes legal in the state of Louisiana then there is now doubt that the Pelicans will help drive sports betting throughout the state.
The New Orleans Saints saved the city after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, and they are without a doubt the most popular team in the state of Louisiana. The NFL has a partnership with several of the biggest sports betting companies in the world, and they will definitely help drive sports betting if it ever becomes available in Louisiana. The Saints should be a Super Bowl contender in the next few seasons, and the state will be watching closely.
The Louisiana State University Tigers are by far the most popular college sports team in the state, especially when it comes to college football. LSU plays in the SEC Conference and they are always featured on primetime during the football season. If sports betting gets passed in the state of Louisiana then there is no doubt that a ton of action will be placed on the mighty LSU football team.
Louisiana doesn’t have a ton of major sports teams, but the ones that they do have are beloved by across the state. Football is King in Louisiana and the Saints and LSU Tigers will be the major teams that drive sports betting if it ever becomes legal. The Pelicans will help out as well, especially if Zion Williamson gets the team back into playoff contention.
Casino Legal Status: There are 20 commercial casinos in operation throughout the state, but only three of them are land based. Table games and slot machines are legal at these locations.
Sports Betting Legal Status: It is illegal to place any bets on sporting events in the state of Louisiana as of June 2019. The next chance to legalize sports betting will be in March 2020.
Horse Racing Legal Status: There are four horse racing tracks and casinos located in the state, and betting on those races is legal at these locations.
Poker Legal Status: Is only legal at the commercial casinos throughout the state. Playing online poker is illegal in the state of Louisiana, although it is not considered a punishable offense.
DFS Legal Status: It appeared that Daily Fantasy Sports was going to become legal in Louisiana, but the state lawmakers failed to vote on the issue. This will be revisited in March 2020.
Lottery Legal Status: The Louisiana Lottery Corporation runs the lottery scene across the state. Lottery tickets can be purchased at retail locations all across the state or online through the Louisiana Lottery Corporation’s website.
Sports Betting Timeline
- March 2020: Louisiana lawmakers will reconvene on this issue.
- June 6, 2019: Louisiana senate kills sports betting bill, fails to vote on DFS bill.
- April 2019: Sports betting bill passes through House; heads to Senate floor.
- March 2019: Sports betting bill introduced in Louisiana House
November 2018: Voters support DFS bill with 15% tax rate