Rumors about online sports betting launching in Louisiana next week are anything but true, said Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Commission. Rather, the launch does not have a definite date, and the timeline is being modified daily.
“There is some misinformation that we’re going to launch sports betting next week in conjunction with the NFL playoffs,” Johns said. “While we very much would like to do that, it’s definitely not accurate. We are working literally on a daily basis to finalize all of the compliance issues and the technical issues with sports betting.”
Johns said his goal is to launch online sports betting ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, but even that remains up in the air. He said the State Police are determining the suitability of the launch, and Johns cannot sign off on the launch until the police send him their recommendation. Nonetheless, Johns said progress is coming along quicker than projected.
They are also looking into the geofencing technology that’s part of the launch, Johns said. Because only 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved online sports betting, Johns said they have to implement technology so that those within the parishes that voted no are not able to place online bets. However, folks could still travel to parishes where online sports betting is approved and place bets there.
The parishes that approved online sports betting are Acadia, Allen, Ascension, Assumption, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Concordia, Claiborne, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Lafourche, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Orleans, Ouachita, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, Red River, Richland, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Tensas, Terrebonne, Vermilion, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.
“The technology is there; it’s very accurate,” Johns said. “We’ve seen it in other states, and we know that it works, but we just have to make absolutely sure that that it’s working properly here in Louisiana before we roll it out.”
Bettors are still able to place sports bets in person across the state. Johns said there are 13 operational licenses across the state, and there is at least one sports betting location in each market, from New Orleans to Lake Charles to Bossier City. There are seven pending licenses Johns said he hopes to approve soon.
Sports betting is projected to bring $30 million in revenue annually to the state of Louisiana. One quarter of state revenue will go toward early childhood education, with a cap at $20 million, and 10% of revenue till go to a local government fund by parish. Up to $500,000 of revenue will be allocated toward the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling.
As gamblers wait for the online sports betting launch, they can sign up with online sports betting operations, such as Caesars Sportsbook. They won’t be able to place online bets right away, Johns said, but users will be operational once the launch officially takes place.
“We’re going to roll it out as quickly as we can, but we’re going to roll it out the right way,” Johns said. “We want to make sure that it’s ready to go.”
Source: The Daily Advertiser