Louisiana launches mobile sports betting Friday; here's what you need to know
Louisiana's long-awaited mobile sports gambling option goes online at 8 a.m. Friday, Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns confirmed to USA Today Network.
"It's going to be huge," Johns said Wednesday. "I can't tell you have many people ask me about this every day."
Among the first expected to offer online sports gambling through their apps are FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, BetFred and BetMGM, though Johns said he couldn't confirm who plans to be up Friday.
"Our goal was to have it available before the Super Bowl, so we were able to beat that target," Johns said. "It will be ready for this weekend's NFL conference championship games."
Sports betting at onsite casinos in Louisiana launched in October, but the mobile betting platform took more time.
More than 67 million wagers were made at Louisiana's onsite sportsbooks during November and December.
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board tracked sports betting figures at 11 sportsbooks active during those months, and the 11 establishments had a total of 67.1 million total wagers and made nearly $10.1 million across the two months.
That volume will increase exponentially with the mobile option.
Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM both confirmed they will be ready Friday.
Caesars has been saturating the Louisiana market with pre-opening advertising for more than a month.
“Caesars Sportsbook is ready for mobile sports betting’s debut in Louisiana on Friday," Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Digital, said in a statement. "This is an opportunity we’ve been working toward for a long time. We have a proud history of operating in Louisiana with our properties Harrah’s New Orleans, Horseshoe Bossier City, and the soon to re-open Horseshoe Lake Charles.
“We’re confident that the Caesars Sportsbook app will offer Louisianans the most competitive odds and the very best in rewards, with every wager earning Caesars Rewards," he said. "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."
BetMGM said it, too, will be ready.
“We're proud that BetMGM will be in the first wave of operators to launch mobile sports betting in Louisiana this Friday," BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said in a statement. "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 Louisiana Gaming Control Board has issued 13 sports betting licenses for onsite sports books. A 14th Louisiana sports book is located at the Paragon Casino in Marksville, but the Paragon is operated by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and isn't regulated by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
A third sports betting option in Louisiana — retail kiosks at bars and restaurants — could be ready in March.
That segment of sports betting is under the control of the Louisiana Lottery rather than the Gaming Control Board.
Louisiana Lottery CEO Rose Hudson said her agency issued a request for proposals from vendors with bids due Feb. 15.
"Their ability to get up and running within a short period of time is important," Hudson said.
Voters in 55 of Louisiana's 64 parishes approved legalizing sports betting in their communities in the fall of 2020, but lawmakers had to set up the framework to regulate and tax sports wagers during the 2021 spring Legislative Session.
Sports betting will still be prohibited in Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Sabine, Union, West Carroll and Winn, the parishes where voters rejected the gaming expansion.
Geofencing technology will prevent people from placing mobile bets in those parishes.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.