Mobile sports betting now live in Louisiana

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:02 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The wait is nearly over for Louisiana sports bettors eager to place wagers from their mobile devices. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board announced Wednesday (Jan. 26) that some of the state-licensed sites and apps will begin accepting mobile wagers starting Friday at 8 a.m.

It’s one of the best ways to celebrate the love of the game.

“It’s a fun way to do something I’m passionate about and make money - it’s really easy money too if you’re smart like me,” gambler Bryson Ronquillo said.

Agency chairman Ronnie Johns made the long-awaited announcement in a brief written statement but did not specify which companies or apps would be among the first to start taking bets Friday.

“Currently eligible sports wagering operators will be approved to accept mobile bets as early as 8 a.m. Friday morning,” the statement said. “The remaining mobile sports wagering operators are in the process of meeting statutory and regulatory requirements and will be approved once those requirements are met.”

BET-MGM, Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings all released statements saying they were in the first wave of Sportsbooks offering the service. The sports betting news site reported Tuesday that Johns’ gaming control board has signed 13 retail sports betting licenses with seven more applications awaiting approval. The Louisiana Lottery will be involved in regulating the mobile sites approved for operation in the state.

Excited gamblers say with the NFL playoffs, NBA, NHL, and college basketball in full swing, it’s a prime opportunity to place those mobile bets.

“You don’t have to drive to go do it,” gambler Gayge Hodges said. “You can do it right then and there.”

“That’s gonna be easier because instead of coming out for COVID you can just do it on your phone,” gambler Jaqualien Victorian said.

“It’s much easier than having to go all the way up to the casino,” gambler Donte Bethley said. “Casino employees aren’t always the friendliest. It’s better to do it on the phone. It’s much more convenient. It’s easier. I’m glad they finally went live with it - took them forever.”

Voters in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved sports betting last November, but the measure wasn’t signed into law until June. Hurricane Ida further delayed the Louisiana State Police from reviewing casino applications.

The American Gaming Association says Louisiana will make around $50 million a year from sports betting.

Retail sportsbooks in Louisiana handled $39.5 million in wagers in December 2021, generating an estimated $4.38 million in revenue for the casinos, according to the state agency’s January meeting. That was up from a $27.6 million handle reported during the first month of operation.

Having mobile applications approved for use before the biggest sports wagering day of the year -- the Super Bowl scheduled for Feb. 13 -- is expected to be a huge boon for the operators and state coffers. Some analysts project mobile sports betting in Louisiana eventually will generate $2.5 billion in sports wagers and more than $200 million in operator revenue annually.

In order to legally bet on sports in Louisiana, mobile users must be at least 21 years old and be within a parish where the gambling measure has been approved. Bets can legally be placed in all parishes throughout Southwest Louisiana.

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