Despite Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards having recently signed into law several sports betting bills intended to legalize sports gambling in the state, the implementation of the sports betting framework there will be delayed until a new gambling regulator chief can be appointed, according to Senate President Page Cortez.
The lapse occurred once former Board Chair Mike Noel resigned back on June 9th prior to a Senate confirmation hearing, thus leaving a critical leadership gap for executing the launch of legal sports gambling in the Bayou State.
This crucial role needs to be filled quickly if Louisiana expects to meet its goal of having sports betting go live in time for the start of the 2021 NFL season in September, and Gov. Edwards has expressed this through his spokesperson Christina Stephens his desire to expedite the appointment process.
Stephens recently told the press:
The governor is working to find a commissioner with the right skill and experience to lead during this important time for the gaming industry in Louisiana.
There is speculation that Louisiana State Senator Ronnie Johns could be chosen by Gov. Edwards as the next regulator after he confirmed to the press that he and the governor had spoken recently about the position.
Johns, a Republican representing District 27 who assumed office in 2012 and whose current term ends in January 2024, now acts as the chair of the Commerce, Consumer Protection, and International Affairs Committee.
The state gambling regulator plays a key role in the difficult and multi-step process required to bring legal sports gambling to a state, including overseeing the launch of online and retail sports betting locations.
Edwards’ spokesperson has said that the governor has made it his goal to appoint a new regulator “sooner rather than later.”
Given the already booming sports market in the state plus the current popularity and success of its casinos, the legal sports betting market in Louisiana is expected to catch on quickly and bring in $2.5 billion in bets, with operators expected to earn over $200 million in revenue.
Eric Ramsey, an analyst for PlayUSA, sees the state becoming even more of a gambling destination:
New Orleans is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the US, and the regular flow of tourists from neighboring large cities like Houston, and even a legal betting state such as retail-only Mississippi, should be a boon initially.
20 licenses will be allocated to the 20 casinos and racinos across the state, plus the Louisiana lottery will receive a sports betting license, as well, with legislation allowing for each licensee to open up retail sportsbook locations as well as two online skins.
But now with the delay in finding a regulator, it could be difficult for sports betting to go live by the start of the 2021 NFL season as planned, a frustrating lag that could cost the state millions in potential sports gambling revenue this year alone.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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