Louisiana is one of a number of U.S. states that is seriously considering taking a position in the sports betting industry.
Mississippi casinos, which began taking sports bets in August 2018, already are attracting gamblers from southeast Louisiana. Casinos in north Louisiana may face the same threat now that Arkansas has legalized casino gambling, including sports betting.
Senator Danny Martiny sponsored a bill to legalize sports betting in Louisiana that died in committee. He plans to try again in 2019. Martiny said if Louisiana residents were allowed to vote on the issue, he thinks it would pass.
“The mindset of the average citizen now is, ‘I don’t gamble, I don’t care for sports betting, but if somebody else wants to do it, and it reduces my tax liability, I’m all for it,’” Martiny said.
The Bayou State is famously known for jazz music and Mardi Gras. Casino gambling and sports betting may just add to the party.
Betting Laws in Louisiana
Almost 4.7 million people live in the southeastern state of Louisiana. Baton Rouge is the capital, while New Orleans is the largest city with a population of almost 400,000 residents. The Big Easy is known for its round-the-clock nightlife and vibrant music scene.
Louisiana gambling laws — whether it's horse racing at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans or the slots at the Hollywood riverboat casino in Baton Rouge — is regulated at the state level by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
All legalized gambling in Louisiana is limited to the following areas:
- Commercial land-based casino
- Commercial riverboat casino
- Tribal casino
- Pari-mutuel wagering
- Daily fantasy betting
- Social gambling
- Charitable gambling
The minimum gambling age for bingo and pari-mutuel wagering in Louisiana is 18 years old. Players must be 21 years old to wager on the state lottery, poker or casino games.
Louisiana is home to 24 casinos with four variety of styles — riverboat, racino, tribal casinos and a land-based casino near the French Quarter in New Orleans.
There are casinos spread out across the state. Louisiana became the fourth state to approve riverboat gambling in 1991 and often draw visitors from Texas. A year later, a land-based casino was approved. There are also three land-based Indian casinos and four racetracks which allow slot machines.
Harrah's New Orleans Casino and Hotel is the biggest venue in the state, while Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville offers a hotel, spa, golf course and RV park.
The oldest gaming venue in New Orleans is one of four racing facilities in Louisiana. The Fair Grounds Race Course has been in operation since 1872. It offers thoroughbred and simulcast wagering like the other state tracks — Evangeline Downs, Louisiana Downs and Delta Downs.
Delta Downs, located in western Louisiana, is the only state track that adds quarter-horse racing to the mix.
These racinos, which also offer slot play and video poker, are open year round. There's also many off-track betting options throughout the state.
Voters in 1990 passed a constitutional amendment for a state lottery. The Louisiana Lottery Corporation started the following year, with the objective of generating revenue without raising taxes. Players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes since the lottery's inception.
The state offers draws for many daily games and also participates in multi-lottery games Powerball and Mega Millions.
Daily fantasy betting
A Louisiana ballot initiative to legalize daily fantasy sports betting passed in November 2018. Another bill, dealing with tax rates and regulations for DFS, is still required. It's anticipated to be in place sometime in 2019.
Louisiana Sports Betting Laws
Sports betting proposals are a “sure bet” for the Louisiana legislature this year, according to Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
“It will be a lively and continuous debate, but don’t ask me to set the odds. I’ll be on the sidelines,” Jones said.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way in May 2018 for states like Louisiana to legalize sports betting, striking down a 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from authorizing that type of gaming. Louisiana lawmakers failed to pass a bill to legalize sports betting in 2018.
With about two dozen casinos currently operating within Louisiana and neighboring states getting the jump on the sports betting trend, the Bayou State can't be far behind as many residents in Louisiana already enjoy top-ranked online platforms like Bovada to bet on their favorite football teams like the New Orleans Saints in the NFL or LSU Tigers in the NCAA.
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Louisiana Major Sports Teams
New Orleans Saints (NFL)
The New Orleans Saints, established 52 years ago in November 1966, have won one Super Bowl (2009) and made 12 playoff appearances. For most of their first 20 years, the Saints were barely competitive, only getting to .500 twice. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, who joined the team in 2006, changed all of that.
New Orleans Pelicans (NBA)
In 16 seasons of play since the original franchise relocated from North Carolina, the Louisiana franchise has achieved an overall regular season record of 610-686 (.471) and has qualified for the playoffs seven times. Their achievements include two playoff series victories and one division title. The name of the team was changed to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013.