Ronnie Johns

Ronnie Johns, center, chairs his first meeting of the Gaming Control Board on Thursday, August 19, 2021.

Eight casinos are accepting bets on sporting events and seven more applications are pending, Ronnie Johns, chair of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, said Thursday.

Five casinos haven’t applied yet. But they have another six weeks to submit the paperwork.

“All the reports I have gotten from across the state is that everything has gone out without a hitch,” Johns said.

After 55 of the state’s 64 parishes voted last year to allow sports betting in their parishes, the Louisiana Legislature rushed to pass the necessary laws in June and the board that oversees gambling in Louisiana quickly drafted temporary rules to get the application process started. Even with a delay caused by Hurricane Ida, which required the state troopers vetting the applications to work rescue and recovery instead, the first lounges where bettors could place wagers in-person, inside the casinos were up and going in late October.

Johns said the other leg of sports betting – online and over smart phones – is still in the works.

The scoop on state politics in your inbox

Get the Louisiana politics insider details once a week from us. Sign up today.

“That’s where the real true interest is. We want to do it quickly, but we want to do it the right way,” Johns said.

The licensed casinos can contract with providers of software and technology to handle the wagers made from anywhere in the parishes that allow sports betting. But doing the necessary background and financial checks will take longer because those contractors don’t have pre-existing relationships with state regulators as do the 20 casinos.

The eight casinos now allowing sports betting:

  • Boomtown Casino in Harvey
  • Boomtown Bossier City Casino
  • Harrah’s New Orleans
  • Horseshoe Bossier City
  • L'Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge
  • L'Auberge Lake Charles Casino Hotel
  • Margaritaville Resort Casino Bossier City

Email Mark Ballard at mballard@theadvocate.com.