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In a recent interview with the USA Today Network, Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) Chairman Ronnie Johns predicted an October 1 launch to the state’s legal sports betting operation, shifted now from the previous plan of the end of September.
The reason for the delay? Hurricane Ida, the deadly and destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane that made landfall in Louisiana at the end of August, second in historical intensity only to Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.
Johns told the media outlet that the new lag in launching sports betting in the state occurred directly because of Ida.
Every State Police trooper (in the agency’s Gaming Enforcement Division) was reassigned to disaster recovery for about a week. We lost about seven to 10 days, but everything is back on track now. We had been projecting late September, but our goal now is to have them up and running by Oct. 1.
Not only was Ida lethal and devastating to property, it was also expensive.
Though sports betting is not yet legal in the Bayou State, casino gambling is, so long as it’s done in person since retail casinos are legal in the state, but online casinos are not, Louisiana being one of the only states to make online casino gambling against the law.
According to the LGCB, casinos and racetracks with slot machines that were in the path of Ida lost more than $3 million in August, the result of having to close those locations for the safety of workers and patrons.
There could be even more lost gambling revenue because of Ida since there is about a half-month delay between wagering activity and when profits or losses are reported, so industry experts expect more of this disappointing financial news in early to mid-October.
This unexpected loss of revenue hits extra hard for a Louisiana community already reeling from the financial effects of the worldwide pandemic, so the sooner legal sports betting launches the better for that state’s residents.
As we’ve previously reported, in November 2020, voters in 56 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved a referendum to legalize sports betting, so now residents in those 56 parishes will be able to make online sports bets as soon as the regulatory process is complete, which, based on Johns most recent statement, looks like it will happen by the start of October.
Despite the delay, this is still good news since that would mean Pelican State bettors will be able to take advantage of the NFL and NCAA Football 2021 regular season schedules which have already begun as well as the playoffs and championships of both leagues.
Industry analysts have predicted that a Louisiana sports betting market could generate $175 million in annual revenue, money that could be reinvested in rebuilding the state’s infrastructure as well as other useful projects benefitting the community.
What Louisiana lawmakers and residents now clearly understand is that sports betting is already taking place in the United States, but now one by one states are beginning to regulate and profit from this existing revenue stream.
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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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