BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As football season ramps up, Louisiana’s sports betting scene will be put to the test for the first time.
Numbers will reveal just how much money Louisianans across 55 parishes are willing to bet on their favorite teams.
“We’ve never gone through a full football season yet with sports betting. It just started two weeks ago with college and then this past weekend with the NFL. Historically, all over the country, football season is a big deal with sports betting,” said Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Johns.
Sports betting was something of a gamble for the legislature as lawmakers didn’t know how much tax revenue it would actually bring in.
Johns said the goal for the first year is to make $30-million, which he believes they are on track to surpass.
“Through July, we have now collected about $16.5 million of revenue for state, local government, and early childhood education,” Johns said.
Since sports betting launched in retail locations last fall and on mobile platforms in February, over $1.4 billion has been bet.
Of the tax revenue, 25% goes to early childhood education, 10% goes back to local government, and the rest is dispersed through gambling addiction programs and others.
When it comes to traditional casinos in the capital city, the Belle of Baton Rouge will present its plans to the Gaming Control Board this week to move the casino on land.
“The Belle of Baton Rouge is the lowest producing license in the state of Louisiana. They don’t do much business there, it’s just not a nice property. But they are going to spend probably $35-40 million on their redevelopment there,” Johns said.
The Horseshoe in Lake Charles is also on track to reopen in December after being closed for two years due to hurricane damage.
There are also efforts to have an out-of-state company purchase the property for the former Diamond Jacks Casino in Bossier City.