Sports Betting Louisiana
The state of Louisiana is rather friendly to gambling. But to ensure the protection of its residents, they’ve enforced a strict regulatory system, mostly for the entertainment of both its residents and visitors. But, even with the state’s general receptiveness on gambling, the Pelican State is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to online gambling. There is also the fact that despite the supreme court ruling in 2018, the state of Louisiana is yet to legalize sports betting – this is expected to change though.
So, while the Pelican State has legal and well-regulated tribal casinos, riverboat casinos, and even horse tracks with slot machines (racinos), you still cannot wager on your favorite sport.
The state of Online Sports Betting Louisiana
In 1997, the state of Louisiana passed a law that made gambling by computers illegal. While this law is written broadly in a manner that fails to differentiate between online and traditional gambling, it mostly prohibits online gambling. So, this means that for the most part, sports betting is illegal. Today, you will still come across a huge number of Louisiana residents gambling online, but through offshore gaming/ gambling sites.
Online sports betting remains illegal, especially because the state is yet to legalize sports betting. In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled against the provisions of PASPA, a federal law that criminalized sports betting for over 25 years. As a result of the actions of the Supreme Court, individual states were left to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting. The Pelican State is one of the states yet to legalize sports betting, and by extension, online sports betting. It is, however, expected that the state would pass legislation to legalize the activity soon. Currently, the state recognizes online gambling as an illegal act. This law is, however, targeted to the parties responsible for offering online gambling services in the state rather than the players.
Note, however, that while you cannot place wagers on the NBA, NFL, MBL, or any other major league, you still get to bet on horse racing at the race tracks or online.
Horse Racing Betting in Louisiana
The state of Louisiana has four active horse racing tracks and several other off-track betting facilities, as well as a number of online racing betting sites. The active, legal and licensed sites include BetAmerica, TwinSpires, and TVG.
Online horse racing allows you access to a wide range of racing events across the world. BetAmerica lets you access a wide variety of horses where you get to choose to either bet on the thoroughbreds, the quarter horses, as well as the greyhounds. Besides the convenience, betting on horse racing online means that you get paid the full amount of your track odds, from the comfort of your home.
Since these betting sites are based and licensed to run in the US, you don’t have to worry about legal issues and battles.
The Louisiana Racing Commission oversees all the racing activities and facilities. Some of the roles of the commission include to manage, maintain, and regulate the gambling process. The commission also regulates the online sites offering online horse racing services to the residents. The online sites accept Pari-Mutuel wagers from anywhere in Louisiana.
Online Sports Betting in Louisiana
The Pelican state is yet to legalize sports betting. However, in 2018, things changed a bit with voters in 47 out of the 67 Louisiana parishes voting to legalize fantasy sports. Following the vote, legislators and regulators are currently putting in place measures which will make sure that Louisiana residents get to participate in fantasy sports contests, legally.
Regarding the wider sports betting scene, it’s legality is yet to be approved. However, after the Supreme Court’s decision to Strike down PASPA in May 2018, the Pelican State found itself in a legal fray with legislators introducing bills to facilitate the legalization of the activity. The most vocal of the legislators is Representative Major Thibaut who introduced bill HB245. This house bill proposed the legalization of sports betting at the four active horse racing facilities. Namely: Louisiana Downs, Fair Grounds, Evangeline Downs, and the Delta Downs. HB245 also calls for referendums in all the parishes where sports betting would be live (the four racinos above). The referendum, argues Thibaut, is a requirement by the Louisiana Constitution and a necessity of the expansion of any gambling activities in the state. Should voters in the parishes approve, the race course in the four parishes would start taking wagers on all types of sports.
This bill does not, however, mention the federal government’s prohibition on sports betting even though the bill was introduced in the house before the Supreme Court’s decision to repeal PASPA. At the time, other bills were introduced, and the text mentioned the need to legalize sports betting only if the federal government lifted its prohibition on the same,
While nothing major has happened after the introduction of the bill, it is projected that sports betting will be legalized in Louisiana at some point. The list by Eilers & Krejcik puts Louisiana among the 32 stats most likely to legalize sports betting within 5 years after the Supreme Court ruling.
The legalization of daily fantasy sports in November 2018 is setting momentum to push for the legalization of sports betting. But, opposition is expected, especially from the Louisiana Family Forum and the Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) which boasts over 1600 churches.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in Louisiana
In November, DFS was legalized in the Pelican State. The Legalization represented a big win in the Louisiana sports betting scene and was fueled by the $1Million ad campaigns run by FanDuel and DraftKings, the leading sites when it comes to running of DFS contests across the country. The result, as noted by the chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Ronnie Jones was an upvote from 47 out of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, representing 92 percent of the Pelican state’s population.
Following the win, the state regulators and legislators are expected to handle DFS betting regulations and tax rates to be charged. These discussions are expected to kick off during the next legislative session of 2019 taking place from April 8.
FanDuel and DraftKings are expected to be the first sites of offer DFS in the state as soon as the regulatory frameworks and taxation measures are put in place.
The fact that online fantasy sports betting was legalized under federal in 2006 (it was exempted from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and regarded a game of skill rather than a gambling activity) the late legalization in the Pelican States attests to the change of heart on matters betting and gambling in Louisiana.
Note: DFS is still illegal in the parishes that voted against its legalization.
Gambling in Louisiana
Even before churches were erected in the Pelican State, the French Settlers constricted casino-style venues for entertainment making the gambling scene in Louisiana very illustrious. Over the past 200 years, lawmakers and other groups have attempted to outlaw gambling in the state, but have been quite unsuccessful. It should be noted, however, that gambling is only legal in the brick-and-mortar casinos. Online gambling in many forms, except horse racing, is not only a prohibited act bit has also been criminalized with whose found operating online gambling sites slapped with hefty fines or forced to serve time in prison.
So, if you’d like to play slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat or any other table game, you should consider doing so at the licensed land-based casinos.
History of gambling in Louisiana
The Pelican State had its first government-run casino in 1753 and 1812, New Orleans was named the first city in the state to be explicitly exempted from the federal law that banned gambling in the state. 1866 had the state establish its first state lottery which ran up to 1895 when it died from legal disputes and corruption. Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing became legal in 1920 and is still active to date.
In 1991, 15 riverboat casinos made applications to the state. All the applications got the approval stamp, and a new lottery system also received a go ahead. In 1993, the Chitimacha tribe became the first Native American tribe to open its casino on their land.
Racetracks could offer slot machines within their premises from 1997 and in 1998, legal amendments prohibited online gambling in the state. 1999 saw Harrah’s casino open its doors and in 2000, the former governor, Edwin Edwards went to jail after he was found guilty of extorting close to $3million from the firms which had applied for gambling licensed.
In 2018, the state of Louisiana sought to legalize sports betting, a move incentivized by the Supreme Court decision to strike down the law that made sports betting illegal nationwide. A small stride was made with a majority of voters passing the vote to legalize fantasy sports betting. The discussions on sports betting have been pushed to the 2019 legislative session expected in Fall.
As mentioned above, online gambling was outlawed in 1998 under the revised Louisiana Statute § 14:90.3 which explicitly prohibited online gambling or gambling by computer.
In 2013, Mike Huval, the state representative filed HCR3 requesting the state to examine the effects of the legalization and the regulation of gaming/ gambling. In his bill, he argued that the residents of Louisiana are actively gambling online using offshore sites. This, he noted is an unsafe strategy and that the state was already missing out on potential revenue from the tax. In his argument, licensing online casinos and even poker sites would not only increase revenue but also safeguard citizens. His bill further sought to obtain input from the gaming control commission, the governor and even the state police gaming commission.
The gaming commission and the State Police responded by saying that the issues and challenges presented were worth pursuing/ considering. At the same time, these two bodies concluded that if the state pursues the route to regulation, it would have to define ways of detecting violations of the gaming law; it would also have to set up a compliance system and also implement safeguards for underage gamblers and gambling addicts.
Further efforts to encourage the licensing of online gambling were put in place in 2018 when State Bill 322 (SB322), a bill seeking to legalize online gambling at the level of the parish was introduced. The bill called on every parish to hold public referendums asking their voters whether they approve of online gambling or not. SB322 was more of a placeholder, and it didn’t carry many details on the matter. The bill further called for the setting of the legal age for gambling to 21 while adding that licenses for the online gambling sites would be issued only to the existing casinos. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board would oversee the industry. Unfortunately, the bill was shelved.
Currently, online poker is an outlawed activity in the state of Louisiana although there are several indicators of the fact that this might not be the case forever. One of the solid indicators of the possibility of the legalization of online poker is the fact that the pelican state embraces gambling in the land-based casinos as is evident by the big number of tribal casinos, riverboat casinos and racinos (racing tracks with slots).
Although online poker is illegal, residents of the Pelican State engage in a variety of social poker games which, though technically illegal, you cannot be arrested for playing. You could also play poker in the licensed casinos and bars. The video poker industry in Louisiana is also strong with at least 1700 locations across the state.
Besides the land-based casinos, gamers could also join in on the gaming fun in social casinos based in the state. The social casinos include Double Down, Slotomania, Big Fish, and Zynga. The social casino games are accessible on mobile devices and Facebook. The deal with social casinos is that despite them being based online, players play for fun rather than real money or prizes.
Until the legislative discussions are held in the fall of 2019, the future of online sports betting Louisiana as well as mobile sports betting remains unknown. We will, however, update you in due time.