Four Louisiana casinos have been issued licenses that will allow them to start taking sports bets on Halloween.
Harrah’s in New Orleans, Boomtown Casino in Harvey, L’Auberge Baton Rouge and Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City were issued licenses Friday, said Ronnie Johns, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The licenses are effective at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
“It will be up to them if they take bets on Sunday if they are ready to do so,” he said.
Harrah's and Horseshoe plan to open their sportsbooks at 7 a.m. Sunday.
L'Auberge and Boomtown said they plan to open their sportsbooks at 4 p.m. Monday.
The four properties were the first ones the Louisiana State Police’s Gaming Division completed their compliance reviews of. Nine other state-licensed riverboats and racinos have applied to take bets on sports.
Harrah's and Horseshoe are Caesars properties, while Boomtown and L'Auberge are operated by Penn National Gaming.
State Police are “working overtime” to review the application from the other properties, Johns said. The items being reviewed include such things as internal controls, audit procedures and how bets will be paid out. It isn’t known when those gambling halls will receive their licenses for sports betting. “There are no applications being reviewed in a different way,” he said.
Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville has been taking sports bets since Oct. 6. The property is owned by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and is not regulated by the state. The compacts the tribes have with the federal government allow them to operate casino games that state voters have approved.
Initially, sports betting will just be allowed in state-regulated casinos. Mobile betting on smartphones is still “a couple of months away” because of the extensive compliance process, Johns said. All of the state-licensed casinos have already been investigated by State Police, but the vendors for betting websites and apps need a full review.
State Police also need to make sure that geofencing works, so people who live in parishes that didn’t approve sports betting aren’t able to place bets on their smartphones or computers.