Louisiana Gaming Control Board approves emergency sports betting rules
Louisiana lawmakers have approved emergency sports betting rules
The Louisiana Gaming Control Board this week passed emergency sports betting rules. The rules will come into effect on Monday, August 23, and will remain in place for 180 days. The board did not reveal the rules or send them to stakeholders before the unanimous approval. LGB Director Ronnie Johns said that staff did receive some stakeholder input ahead of drafting the regulations, and some of the suggestions were added to the emergency rules.
Residents in 55 of 64 parishes in Louisiana voted to legalize mobile betting and retail sports betting on the November 2020 ballot. Additionally, state lawmakers passed tax bills and framework on June 10 before Gov. John Bell Edwards made it official on June 23.
It has been a rocky road since then. The LGCB has been in turmoil as former gaming chief Ronnie Jones stepped down after not being reconfirmed by the state. Things got more complicated as, following that, Sen. Ronnie Johns resigned his legislative seat to take over the board. Just last week, Johns told a radio station that it is possible sports wagering could go live before the end of the year.
Emergency Rules Good for six months
Because there are at least some rules in place, there is a possibility Louisiana sports betting could be live in 2021. However, until stakeholders can see what they must do, including how to apply and what their technology stack should look like, it is hard to gauge a realistic launch date. Additionally, it is hard to predict how fast the LGCB will begin to circulate the emergency rules, which do not go through any public comment period. LGCB had hinted it was likely the rules would be posted by the end of play Thursday, but several stakeholders were still waiting.
The emergency rules are valid for six months, with the board retaining the ability to renew them for another six months once the date expires. However, both the board and the attorney general’s office representative appeared confident that a renewal would not be needed.
During a meeting, Johns said that they were “going to do it as fast as we can, but in a compliant way.” The next steps are for the rules to go through a public comment period with the LGCB inviting stakeholder input.
Online betting will be available in all but nine parishes in the Pelican State, while retail sports betting will be available at the Harrah’s land-based casino in New Orleans and riverboat casinos across Louisiana. It’s not yet known which operators will be available in the state, but we would expect to see Caesars Sportsbook as one of the first names to go live. The operator is making big waves in the state, having recently purchased the naming rights to the Louisiana Superdome.
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