The state Gaming Control Board on Thursday approved DaftKings as the first daily fantasy sports licensee in Louisiana. DraftKings is a publicly traded company based in Boston. It provides an array of online sports betting games.
The company’s fantasy sports games are available now in Louisiana for those wanting to participate, but only in the parishes where allowed, Stephen Miraglia, DraftKings’ director of communications, told Casino.org on Saturday. In November 2018, Louisiana voters in 47 of 64 parishes approved fantasy sports betting within their parish. Anyone who is at least 21 years old can travel into these parishes and participate.
Fantasy sports betting is different from traditional live-game sports betting, which has been legalized in Louisiana, but is not yet operational. In fantasy sports betting, participants select an imaginary team of real-life players and compile the athletes’ statistics from actual games. Companies such as DratKings that host the fantasy leagues charge an entry fee and pay winning participants.
Earlier this year, the Louisiana State Police opened the application process for companies, including DraftKings, seeking a license to operate fantasy sports games. The State Police conducted investigations into the applicants before issuing the first license this week.
Louisiana is the 44th state where DraftKings offers daily fantasy sports games. Other companies, such as FanDuel, also offer these games across the country, and are expected to provide the games in Louisiana upon licensing.
Matt Kalish, co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, said the company welcomed the opportunity to offer fantasy sports games in Louisiana. He said the state is “rich with culture, heritage, and die-hard fanbases in both professional and college sports.”
Though its fanbases extend to all sports, the state is especially known for its support of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and for collegiate football, including the Louisiana State University Tigers.
The Vegas Sports Information Network recently signed an agreement with WBRZ-TV, the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge, to provide on-air betting analysis. Baton Rouge is the capital city and home of the LSU campus.
DraftKings estimated it would earn $15.5 million in net revenue from fantasy games in Louisiana this year. That total would generate $1.3 million in tax revenue for the state, the Associated Press reported.
Gamblers in Louisiana also will be able to participate soon in traditional sports betting. In this type of wagering, bettors put money down on live sporting events.
During the legislative session that ended June 10, lawmakers approved measures to legalize sports betting in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it during last November’s election.
The governor recently signed those bills into law. However, legal sports betting cannot begin in Louisiana until the Gaming Control Board sets up the rules to regulate the industry. Sports betting is expected to be operational in the state by early 2022.
Once it is up and running, bettors will be able to wager in person at casinos or remotely on mobile apps and computers. Sports betting also will be allowed on kiosks at bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.