Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Louisiana?
For the immediate future at least, sports betting is not legal in Louisiana.
For a state that’s known for parties, celebration, and high-scoring football games, Louisiana surprisingly has some of the harsher gambling laws in the entire country. However, like so many other US states, the move towards legalized sports gambling has begun.
In this complete guide to Louisiana online sportsbooks and sports betting laws, we’ll dig into:
- How LA sports betting laws are changing after the 2018 Supreme Court decision.
- When and how people in Louisiana will be able to bet on sports legally online.
- If it’s legal to bet on daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Louisiana.
We’ll do our best to put all the pieces together for a clear picture of what to expect in terms of legal sports betting in the Pelican State in 2019 and beyond.
Louisiana Legal Sports Betting at a Glance
While there’s still a ways to go before legal betting gets to the gulf, it’s looking like 2019 will be a watershed year for Louisiana.
A number of different Louisiana state lawmakers have spoken out on the situation and all signs are pointing an in-depth review the matter during April’s legislative session.
Here are some of the most important facts and developments so far:
- The National Council of Gaming State Legislators met in New Orleans in January and sports betting was the biggest topic of discussion. The council is made up of lawmakers from around the country who heard from casino and pro sports league representatives and other politicians including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
- The American Gaming Association estimates Louisiana’s potential tax profits from a legal sports betting industry to be between $50 and $60 million per year.
- A referendum will likely be held in October 2019 to see if Louisiana citizens want to legalize sports betting and in what form.
- If a companion bill is filed along with the referendum, we could see legal sports betting in as little as one year.
- If no companion bill is created, legislation will have to be passed during 2020 sessions.
In the next section we’ll go into more detail about how things currently stand in Louisiana and what’s happening to move the legal sports gambling agenda forward.
The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in Louisiana
Louisiana hasn't always been warm and cozy with the idea of legal sports betting but that all changed in 2018 when the US Supreme Court repealed a country-wide ban on sports gambling that had been on the books since 1992.
Lawmakers are already talking about legal sports betting in the Pelican State, including Governor John Bel Edwards.
Edwards has voiced his concern that since nearby states including Mississippi are already accepting sports bets, it puts the Louisiana casino industry at risk:
“I don’t think that’s in our best interest,” said Edwards.
“There are many different ways that sports betting can be undertaken,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what works for Louisiana.”
Right now there are 15 riverboat casinos, one land-based casino in New Orleans and four racetracks all accepting legal gambling wagers in Louisiana.
That bodes well for in-person sports betting since the infrastructure is already in place to build physical sportsbooks.
What’s less clear is how online sports betting in Louisiana will work.
Under current laws, online gambling on absolutely anything is strictly prohibited. Specifically, any website that exists to accept wagers and take bets is not only fined, but can serve up to nearly half a dozen years in prison. Furthermore, as a gambler, if you place a wager through one of these illegal online gambling sites, you can face both a fine and potential prison time.
The hope is that when sports betting is legalized, the legislation will carve out a legal space for online betting too.
In addition to the over $50 million annual projected tax revenue, proponents of legal sports betting also point to other big economic benefits that places like Mississippi are already enjoying.
The most likely road to legalization includes a referendum in October of 2019 and a comprehensive sports betting bill being developed and passed through the state legislature.
Experts estimate that legal sports betting may be available in Louisiana sometime in 2020.
The History of Online Sports Betting in Louisiana
Louisiana doesn’t have the richest gambling heritage in the country but there are a few key dates worth getting familiar with:
- Early 1700s - Settlers construct cabarets and billiard halls before building the first church, the St. Louis Cathedral which was constructed in 1727.
- 1753 - Louisiana Governor Louis Billouart de Kerlérec opened the first state-sponsored casino, located in New Orleans.
- 1812 - The federal government banned gambling in Louisiana with the exception of New Orleans.
- 1866 - The first Louisiana State lottery was created. By the 1890 the Louisiana Lottery Corporation was operating in almost every US state with 90% of its sales coming from outside Louisiana. However, facing political opposition, the lottery was shut down in the early 1890s.
- 1920s - Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing became the only legal gambling activity in Louisiana.
- 1991 - The state lottery was reinstated.
- 1991 - Louisiana approves 15 riverboat casinos located in Shreveport-Bossier City, Lake Charles, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
- 1993 - Three Native American bands open tribal casinos.
Which Online Sports Betting Sites are Legal in Louisiana?
There are no legal sports betting sites in Louisiana. As noted above, this will most likely change in the next year or two.
Once online sports betting sites become legal, Louisiana will most likely follow the same path as nearby Mississippi. First will come physical sportsbooks located in existing casinos.
Then, if legislation allows for it, we’ll start to see more options for Louisiana online sportsbooks and betting sites.
When that happens we’ll have expert reviews of all the best LA sports betting sites to help you get started betting on sports online in Louisiana.
What Sports Can You Bet on Online in Louisiana?
Aside from daily fantasy (see below), there are no sports you can bet on legally online. However, if sports betting does become legalized in the state of Louisiana, it’ll bring with it a whole slate of professional and amateuer sports to wager on.
Louisiana is home to some of the world’s most iconic teams and athletes.
- The New Orleans Saints is a force in the NFL and an absolute sensation in Louisiana. Expect tons of local action on the Saints once it becomes legal to bet.
- On the hardcourt, the New Orleans Pelicans will attract its own share of wagering once Louisiana’s legal betting industry gets going.
The list of sports that people in Louisiana will be able to bet on is huge. We’re talking major and minor North American leagues as well as action from all over the world.
These days, if you want to bet on it there’s usually a site ready to take your action, regardless of the sport.
Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in Louisiana?
Betting on DFS in Louisiana just became legal and betting will be available soon, if not by the time you read this.
In November of 2019 a ballot initiative to legalize daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Louisiana passed, with nearly 92% of the state’s population voting in favor of the legislation.
However, there are still a few hurdles left to clear before players can start placing DFS wagers.
Firstly, 47 of the 64 parishes voted in favor of the legalization, meaning only players living in one of those 47 parishes will be able to place legal DFS wagers. Second, tax rates and regulations around DFS still need to be established, which will most likely happen in April 2019, when the next legislative session commences.
At this point, with the bill for legalization already passed, DFS players only have to wait a few more months to legally place wagers in the state of Louisiana.
Is There No Deposit Sports Betting in Louisiana?
Given that online sports betting is still illegal there are no deposits of bonus offers of any kind available.
However, if and when sports betting sites start accepting players from Louisiana, we fully expect online sports to offer a full menu of valuable bonuses.
Check back on this page to find out when betting is legalized and to get exclusive access to the best Louisiana sports betting bonuses.
What is the Future of Online Sports Betting in Louisiana?
Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, is another powerful proponent of legalized sports betting and he’s someone we’ll be hearing more from in 2019.
“I feel certain that we will be debating it again this coming April,” said Johns.
He’s also concerned about the threat that Mississippi’s legal sports betting options pose to Louisiana’s own casino industry.
“I think it’s something that we need to do and not for the sake of expanding gaming in Louisiana. It’s basically to insulate our current businesses,” he said. “We know we are starting to lose business to Mississippi.”
With the huge success of the DFS initiative, there’s a huge momentum behind sports betting legalization within Louisiana. With Mississippi right next door already accepting bets, the heat is on for Louisiana lawmakers to move fast and keep that sports wagering money inside the state.
Estimates are that there’s over $50 million per year in tax revenue just waiting for Louisiana if it pulls the trigger on legalization.
Once that happens, we expect online sports betting to be tied to the land-based sportsbooks that will probably start popping up in existing casinos.
Looking ahead, the most pressing upcoming date is April 2019 when the 2019 lawmaking session starts back up. After that, assuming all goes according to plan, there will be a referendum sometime in November to officially sign legalized sports betting into state law.
Louisiana Legal Sports Betting Coming Soon
All signs are pointing to legalized sports betting. The question is when.
In a perfect world legal betting would be available in 2019. In the real world it’s probably more likely to happen in 2020.
If you live in Louisiana and want to stay up to date with everything that’s happening, bookmark this page and check back soon. We’ll post major developments and how they affect Louisiana’s chances of getting legal online sports betting.
If you want to check out what’s happening with the laws in other parts of the country, refer to our state by state legal sports betting guides.