In 2018, Louisiana’s voters had the opportunity to indicate whether they would like fantasy sports betting to debut in their region. Once the ballots had been counted, more than 50% of the parishes, or regions, of Louisiana had approved the measure. While most states around the US have worked tirelessly to bring sports fans more ways to engage, Louisiana has had a slow start. The good news is that a state official has recently shared that the introduction of fantasy sports contests in Louisiana is on track and are likely to begin during 2021’s football season.
An official from Louisiana’s State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, Major Chuck Mcneal, shared that two fantasy sports contest providers have applied to bring the activity to the state. He went on to share that as long as the department’s investigators are provided with the necessary paperwork and documentation, the market should definitely be launched before this coming fall. The governmental affairs director of FanDuel, Stacie Stern, took to online news sources to share that the company is currently working with Louisiana’s authorities to ensure that the company meets the requirements to offer fantasy sports games in the state. She concluded that the company would be honoured to launch in a state that has such a huge sporting fanbase.
Louisiana State is currently home to the New Orleans Saints, an NFL team, and the New Orleans Pelicans, from the NBA. In addition to this, the state has a number of university football teams with active fans. The Tigers, from Louisiana State University, are considered to be a football powerhouse that competes in the Southeastern Conference every year.
There are two requirements that need to be met, and then some, to ensure that the applicants will be granted access to offer their services in Louisiana. Fantasy sports contests differ from sports betting in that participants will build a fantasy team made up of real players. The statistics of the selected players will determine which fantasy team wins, with the successful participant walking away with cash prizes.
This is what Louisiana voters approved in 2018. Approval for this activity was received in a total of 47 parishes, out of the 64. The remaining 17 parishes did see some interest in the activity but the majority was against the measure. The age requirement for participating in a fantasy sports contest is 21 years and operators need to prove that they will be able to ensure that this is strictly adhered to. FanDuel and Draftkings, leading brands in fantasy sports gaming and sports betting, contributed a total of $1 million to the campaign that supported this measure before the vote took place. These companies are set to pay 4% on net revenues once they go live.
The application process has taken some time as both companies are required to verify that games will not be available to the 17 parishes that did not approve of the measure on the ballot. As such, the companies have had to employ geofencing to prohibit their services from reaching these areas.
As regulators finalize the details of fantasy games in the state, Louisiana’s lawmakers are meeting in Baton Rouge to decide whether online sports betting will be making its way to the state next. Online sports wagering would allow residents, in specific parishes, to place wagers on the outcomes of sporting events via their smartphones or computer devices.
In November last year, sports betting made it to the 2020 ballot, where a total of 55 parishes approved of the measure. However, the ballot question did not specify whether sports betting activities would be taking place at land-based sportsbook facilities or online.
Louisiana is known for its riverboat casinos, of which there are currently 13, its four racinos and the one brick-and-mortar gambling venue. Page Cortez, President of the State Senate, has shared that sports betting will generate revenue that is meaningful if it is done online, with smartphone devices. He has shared his estimate of mobile sports betting generating between $10 and $20 million in annual state revenue through taxes. There are currently nine sports betting bills being considered during this legislative session which is set to end on the 10th of June.