Louisiana is working on giving it another try. We may have to save that sentence for the early part of 2021 and repeat it at that point in time, too. If we had to set a line on the approval of legalized sports betting in Louisiana for 2020, the ‘No’ would be the favorite. It wouldn’t be an overwhelming favorite by any means, but until Louisiana puts it on the ballot, it does appear to be a little less than a 50/50 proposition.
There didn’t seem to be enough progress in 2019 to raise a lot of optimism for 2020, but there is hope. Louisiana’s elected officials went back in session to talk about sports betting in March, along with hundreds of other issues. Five separate bills were being deliberated at the start of the legislative session. The Louisiana House tried something in 2019 that fell through in rather short order, but that lost support from the Casino Trade Association, which gives us all an idea of how bad the bill actually was.
Midterm elections may ultimately pave the way for sports betting in Louisiana. Some party changes in the House may help push something approved in the Senate on through to the governor’s desk. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is in favor of the expansion of gaming in the state to include sports betting. As long as something gets to him, he can sign it and then it would go to a public vote.
The public voting in Louisiana is different than it is in most states. Each parish has the right to pass or fail a certain provision. If betting is signed off on by the governor, it would become the law, but each parish can make its own decision. The Louisiana Constitution stipulates this because new forms of gambling must go to a parish vote. So, we could have parts of Louisiana that allow it and other parts that don’t.
While individual bills could include language about mobile and online betting, the parish-by-parish setup would make it really difficult to geofence the different areas. That is why retail sports betting seems to be the main focus. Perhaps one of the bills with mobile capabilities makes it to the forefront, but given that not every parish will approve sports betting, it seems easier to just focus on the retail side.
Louisiana does have casinos. In particular, New Orleans has casinos. Retail betting would also be good at racetracks like Fair Grounds, home of the Louisiana Derby, which is a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. New Orleans also hosts some big events at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, so betting, even just in a retail form, would likely provide a nice boost for the economy.
We’ll just have to wait and see if any measures pass.
How Do I Bet on Sports in Louisiana?
One of the big sticking points for Governor Edwards has been that you can bet on sports in Mississippi. That is a retail-only environment, but it has reinvigorated the casino and gaming industries in Mississippi in Tunica and Biloxi. Injecting some new life into the Louisiana casinos with a focus on the Early Education Fund seems to be the goal in Louisiana.
For now, however, you cannot bet on sports in Louisiana. As mentioned, Mississippi is the easiest option and is a fairly painless option when you think about it. The Gulf Coast casinos are not that far away from New Orleans.
Retail betting is also available in Arkansas, which gives residents of places like Shreveport some options. Otherwise, there aren’t a whole lot of options. Texas does not have any form of legal betting. Most of the southeast does not have betting, though Georgia is making a pretty significant push towards legalized sports betting.
For Louisiana, the options are Mississippi and Arkansas if you can get to a retail book or to make a trip to an approved state.