Louisiana’s sports betting industry has been a lucrative investment so far, but unfortunately, plans to extend the retail wagering option to restaurants and bars have been halted. Rose Hudson, CEO of Louisiana Lottery, stated that her partner, BetMGM sportsbook, declined to pursue the project due to a lack of resources.
“We don’t have a partner to move forward and we wouldn’t be able to set it up ourselves,” Hudson said in an interview. “My core business is running the lottery, not a sports betting operation.”
With this in mind, it seems prudent to be cautious when speculating on what other options may become available in the future. For now, it seems as though the only way for Louisianans to bet on their favorite sport is through Louisiana mobile sports betting apps or casino parlors.
Third Component of Louisiana Sports Betting
Two years ago, Louisiana lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards conducted a mutual effort to pass a bill that would ultimately authorize sports betting in the state. The legislation was supported by Senate President Page Cortez of Lafayette and Republican Rep. John Stefanski of Crowley and designed to establish regulation for both mobile applications and casino-based sportsbooks.
In January 2022, Louisiana jumped into the world of sports betting as casinos and mobile apps began offering these services. With huge amounts of money being gambled, particularly from high rollers like Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the state managed to bring in $1.8 billion in wagers along with $26.5 million in taxes.
However, there was a third part to this bill which granted the state’s Lottery Corporation the power to open sports betting kiosks at bars and restaurants. Although BetMGM won the bidding for a retail platform partnership with the lottery, they ended up withdrawing their participation due to concerns about its profitability.
Can We Still Expect Something?
As per Republican John Stefanski, he and senate President Cortez will discuss if there will be another path to continue the project.
“Page and I have talked about it and we’re going to reassess the viability,” Stefanski said. “We knew the mobile component and casinos would make up the vast majority of the business, but we wanted to create a component that would give local business owners a path to profit from the new industry.”
While the current prospects of local retail sports betting don’t look promising, Stefanski is not ready to give up just yet. Showing cautious optimism, he expressed his desire to move closer to finding a feasible solution.
“We want to take another look and see if we can come up with some cleanup legislation that might make it economically viable to implement,” he said. He further suggested that local business owners remain deeply interested in the idea of local sports betting.
All in all, this serves as an indication that Stefanski is still holding out hope for the implementation of local retail sports betting in the future.
It seems that even with this potentially lucrative venture for Louisiana, companies must proceed cautiously as they assess their options.