Louisiana sports betting market projected to hit $2.5 billion annually

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Analysts say the Bayou State has several advantages despite a small population.

With Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (pictured) expected to sign legislation that will legalize retail and mobile sports betting soon, analysts are projecting the state’s sports betting market could attract more than $2.5 billion in annual wagering by its third year.

PlayLouisiana on Friday estimated the Bayou State will be able to tap what it referred to as “rich natural advantages” to bring in more than $200m in operator revenue, despite a population of just 4.6m people.

Analysts noted if the state places a 15% levy on online bets and 10% rate on retail betting, online and retail sports betting would yield as much as $30m in taxes annually.

Currently, 21 states and Washington DC have an active legal sports betting industry in some form. Louisiana will be joining nine other states that have approved sports betting in some form and are preparing for launch later this year or next.

“Louisiana should be able to outperform its relatively small population,” Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, which includes PlayLouisiana.com, said in a statement. “In fact, as a market, Louisiana shares many of the same attributes that have made New Jersey and Nevada sports betting Meccas. The state has long been home to a thriving casino industry, New Orleans itself can draw tourists from all over the country, and Louisiana is not bordered by another state that offers both retail and online sports betting.”

Among states with an active sports betting industry, Ramsey said Louisiana most closely compares to Colorado, which is home to 5.8m. Colorado, which launched in May 2020, attracted $2.3 billion in wagers and brought in $147.4m in gross gaming revenue in its first year.

Louisiana is a smaller state, but it has the potential to drive significantly more wagering than its population might suggest, assessed Dustin Gouker, lead analyst at PlayUSA.com. He said one of those attributes includes the unique structure of Louisiana’s sports betting bill, which will allow thousands of sports wagering kiosks across most of the state. Its balanced tax rates will be appealing to operators, he added.

“The basic framework will be appealing for sportsbook operators, and that will help the state reach its potential,” Gouker said. “Even more, Louisiana set up a relatively open and competitive market, which benefits consumers while making the industry a reliable revenue producer for the state for years to come.”

New Orleans is particularly appealing as a sports tourism market with fans regularly traveling from all over the country for special events in addition to regular season games, Gouker continued. In addition, he predicted Louisiana’s neighbors will regularly travel across the border to place a bet.

The local sports scene is robust, with an NFL and NBA franchise, five major college football programs, and 12 NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs calling Louisiana home.

“New Orleans is one of the most popular tourism destinations in the US, and the regular flow of tourists from neighboring large cities such as Houston, and even a legal betting state such as retail-only Mississippi, should be a boon initially,” Ramsey said. “Also, the state is home to passionate local fanbases, which is a help for any market. The bottom line is that most markets in the US are without Louisiana’s collection of positive attributes.”

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