Louisiana Downs Gets Sportsbook License, Wagering Win Up Statewide

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board on Monday approved a five-year license for an on-site sportsbook at the Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack.

The racetrack, featuring more than 130 days of horse racing, is east of Bossier City in the northwestern part of the state. Longterm approval for the on-site sportsbook does not include a license to operate a Louisiana sports betting mobile app.

When fully built out, the Louisiana Downs sportsbook will have 75 seats and 30 television screens for guests to view sporting events, casino officials said. 

Louisiana Downs is one of four horse racing tracks in the state. The others are Delta Downs in Vinton, Evangeline Downs near Opelousas and the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The tracks are licensed to operate sportsbooks.

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Wagers Down, Win Total Up

In addition to the horse tracks, Louisiana’s riverboat casinos and one land-based resort, Harrah’s New Orleans, also are licensed to operate on-site sportsbooks. In July, the sportsbooks inside 17 properties accepted $14.9 million in wagers. That figure is down from the $18.7 million wagered in June. Once winning bettors were paid, the commercial sportsbooks reported a net win of $1.39 million in July, up from a win of $149,244 one month earlier.

Mobile Apps Boost Win Totals

Also in July, the seven online bookmakers operating statewide reported a lower “handle” — the amount of money wagered — than the previous month, but a higher net win.

The online bookmakers are:

  • Barstool
  • BetRivers Louisiana
  • BetMGM Louisiana
  • Caesars Louisiana
  • DraftKings Louisiana
  • FanDuel Louisiana
  • WynnBet Louisiana

The mobile operators accepted $103.3 million in wagers during July, following a June handle of $113.7 million. However, the mobile operators won $19.2 million in July, compared to $10.5 million one month earlier.

During Monday’s Control Board meeting, Chairman Ronnie Johns made note of the decline in the combined handle from from June to July, saying  July is a slow month for sports betting. He also pointed out that the net win went up in July. Johns previously told Gambling.com he expects mobile and in-person sports betting to pick up soon with the start of the college and NFL football seasons. 

The NFL’s New Orleans Saints have begun preseason play and open their regular season on Sept. 11 on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. At Caesars Sportsbook, the Saints are favored by 5.5 points.

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Horseshoe Lake Charles Nearing Completion

Also at Monday’s meeting, Johns said the land-based Horseshoe Casino in Lake Charles could open by the end of 2022. The resort is owned by Las Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment. After the Isle of Capri riverboat casino was damaged during Hurricane Laura in 2020, Caesars began rebuilding the property as an on-shore resort and changed its name to the Horseshoe.

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