Even though sports betting, let alone iGaming, has yet to be legalized in Louisiana, a casino is trying to get ahead of the market by launching a social casino and sportsbook.
The Coushatta Casino Resort and Rush Street Interactive, developer and supplier of social gaming product, Casino4Fun, announced the launch Tuesday, according to a news release. The social site, powered by Rush Street’s iGaming platform, will offer more than 300 online slots, table games and live dealer games, as well as the opportunity to engage with a sportsbook.
Not played for real money, social casinos can be played for free. Some offer sweepstakes with prizes.
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When iGaming will become a reality in Louisiana is anybody’s guess. While more states have looked to increase revenue to deal with coronavirus pandemic concerns, expanding gaming (Daily Fantasy Sports and sports betting) in Louisiana has been a long process.
“As more states move to legalize online casino and sports betting, forward-looking partners such as the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana are selecting our social casino product to position themselves early for success once online gaming is legalized in their state,” Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, said in the news release. “This partnership will provide them with a powerful marketing tool to increase their current casino customer engagement, reactivate lapsed players and acquire new customers cost-efficiently.”
Baby Steps in Louisiana
Voters in 47 of the Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved legal Daily Fantasy Sports wagering in 2018, but it took almost two years to get regulations through the state legislature. It could be operational this fall.
Sports betting will face a similar referendum on the November ballot that DFS did in 2018. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 130 on June 11 giving voters in the state’s 64 parishes final say on whether or not they want sports betting in their parishes.
If approved by voters, the state legislature would have to approve legislation setting up regulations and a tax rate. It could also consider mobile sports betting. The governor would then still have to sign off on it.
Louisiana is the third state to have a sports betting question on the November ballot, joining South Dakota and Maryland. Gambling already exists in Louisiana at casinos, riverboats and video poker machines. Casinos began reopening in mid-May after being closed for about two months.
Online casino gambling went live in mid July in West Virginia and is also legal in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Online poker is legal in those states plus Nevada. Michigan hopes to launch online casinos later this year.
A Big Step for Coushatta
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana reopened the Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, about 25 miles northeast of Lake Charles, on May 20. The state’s largest land-based casino, according to the news release, it reopened with enhanced social distancing and health measures in place.
Scott Sirois, general manager of Coushatta Casino, said the social casino takes his casino’s guest services to a new level. Players must be 21.
“We are thrilled to offer our guests the popular amenity of online social gaming,” Sirois said in the news release. “Our new website delivers social casino gaming excitement directly to our guests’ fingertips — anytime, anywhere.”
Rush Street said its product has been built for the U.S. market from the perspective of a U.S. land-based casino operator. Sites are live at Rivers Casinos in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois, the release said.