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Kickoff: Sports betting licenses issued to Louisiana casinos

October 31, 2021 GMT

MONROE, La. (AP) — Four state-licensed casinos in Louisiana were able to kick off sports betting at their locations Sunday, after winning approval for their licensing applications from state gambling regulators.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns told The Advertiser the licenses are for Harrah’s New Orleans, L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge, Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City and Boomtown Casino in Harvey. Wagering could begin Sunday, though L’Auberge and Boomtown planned to open their sportsbooks Monday.

Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert placed the first bet Sunday inside Harrah’s New Orleans, according to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. Hebert placed a ceremonial wager on his old team to cover the 4.5-point spread against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“This is an exciting day for the state,” Johns said Friday. “There’s been tremendous interest. We’ve had calls every day for months asking about the timing.”

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Voters in 55 parishes legalized sports betting on live-action games. Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville started offering sports betting at its tribal casino on Oct. 6, but the Gaming Control Board took longer to license the first state-regulated sports betting sites.

Johns said the State Police review of applications was briefly disrupted by Hurricane Ida because troopers were deployed for response work. Johns said he will issue more licenses as soon as he gets more approvals from the State Police.

The first sports betting options will be at on-site sports books inside casinos and racetracks. Johns said it will likely be early 2022 before the casinos begin offering mobile online betting options. The Advertiser reports that’s the same timeline expected for bars and restaurants to secure sports betting kiosks through the Louisiana Lottery Corp.

Sports betting will be prohibited in Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Sabine, Union, West Carroll and Winn parishes, where voters rejected the gambling expansion. Technology will prevent residents within those parish borders from accessing mobile sports betting applications unless they go to a parish where voters authorized the wagering.