Published: October 29, 2021

Louisiana gambling regulator issues first four sports betting licenses

Louisiana's Gaming Control Board issued its first four sports betting licenses to casinos Friday, agency Chairman Ronnie Johns confirmed to USA Today Network.

Johns said the licenses are effective Sunday for Harrah's New Orleans, L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge, Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City and Boomtown Casino in Harvey — just in time for the New Orleans Saints' big game against Tampa Bay in the Caesars Superdome.

Johns said he knows Harrah's New Orleans will open its sports betting parlor Sunday, but he isn't sure if the others will be ready to take Sunday wagers.

Louisiana's first legal sports book opened at the Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville earlier this month, but the Paragon is a tribal casino operated by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, so it isn't regulated by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Johns said he will issue more licenses as soon as he gets the OK from Louisiana State Police, which must give its approval for each applicant. 

Voters in 55 of Louisiana's 64 parishes approved legalizing sports betting in their communities last fall, but lawmakers had to set up the framework to regulate and tax sports wagers during the 2021 spring Legislative Session.

Johns said it will likely be early 2022 before casinos begin offering mobile online betting options.

That's the same timeline expected for bars and restaurants to secure sports betting kiosks for their customers. The Louisiana Lottery controls that segment of the industry.

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