New Narrative for Louisiana Sports Betting
Louisiana sports betting was supposedly delayed because of a vacancy in the Gaming Control Board chair position. The rumor from lawmakers was that the opening would not allow the state to launch sports betting. Christopher Hebert, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office Gaming Division Director, confirmed on Tuesday that this was just a rumor.
The Work Has Not Stopped
Hebert spoke at the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States Conference on Tuesday in Chicago. He was asked to address the comments from lawmakers regarding the alleged delay of Louisiana sports betting.
“There was a narrative that sports betting would be delayed because we’re operating without a chairman. I hope someone here quotes this: that is absolutely not the case. The board’s day-to-day operations have not, and will not, cease. We have operated three times in the past without a chairman. There are things in place … our vice chairman is authorized to memorialize decisions of the board.”
The Gaming Control Board is still working without a leader, and progress is being made on Louisiana sports betting rules. The original goal for the market was to launch by week one of the NFL season. This will not occur, but football season is still a realistic possibility.
A mild draft of the rules should be prepared in August, and there will be one or two stakeholder meetings during the month to collaborate. The Gaming Control Board will then go back to the drawing board to draft a final set of regulations.
Once the Gaming Control Board finalizes the rules, an emergency declaration will be established. This will swiftly implement online sports betting in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes that approved sports betting during the November 2020 referendum vote.
Still Questions Amongst Stakeholders Over Louisiana Sports Betting
Hebert’s nonchalant comments made it sound like sports betting will be quickly established, but it’s unlikely. Sports betting has been challenging to implement in legal betting states throughout America. This is one reason that stakeholders are concerned in LA.
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Additionally, the vacancy in the Gaming Control Board’s chair position is an issue according to stakeholders. Once a person is named to fill the position, there will likely be an extended negotiation period.
The chair must sign off on sports betting for the emergency declaration to become relevant. Louisiana sports betting is realistic during football season, but the timeline is questionable. The end of 2021 is a reasonable projection for sports betting in LA.
There will be 20 licenses delegated to the state’s casinos, and the Louisiana Lottery will also receive a permit. Casinos will be allowed two online skins, and the lottery will be granted one. This means there could be up to 41 operators in the state.