It was going to be very hard to top the launch New York enjoyed with mobile sports betting. However, Louisiana found one way to do just that.
According to GeoComply, the first 36 hours of mobile wagering saw the number of unique players equal 3.6 percent of Louisiana’s adult population. That compares favorably to New York’s Jan. 8-9 kickoff weekend, which saw a customer base equaling 3.3 percent of its adult population.
GeoComply is a geolocation technology provider. Mobile sports betting operators use its solution to ensure that all online bets are made legally within the state. That’s actually a bit more complicated than in most states for reasons we’ll go into shortly.
Busy First Weekend in the Bayou
Louisiana has a population that’s little more than a quarter of New York’s, so don’t be expecting a billion-dollar monthly handle anytime soon down on the bayou. Still, data from GeoComply suggests the state may produce numbers comparable with states that have a larger population.
From the time operators were allowed to start – 8 am CT last Friday – until the end of Sunday night’s games, GeoComply tracked 3.4 million geolocation transactions in the state. While the company says those transactions aren’t the same as wagers, their statement Thursday indicated they’re “a strong indicator” of what’s taking place in a state.
Louisiana ended up finishing eighth in transaction volumes for the weekend. That beat Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, and Connecticut.
The highest number of transactions took place during the 5 pm CT hour on Sunday. That hour included the end of the AFC Championship – with former LSU star Joe Burrow leading the Bengals to an epic comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs – and the start of the NFC Championship.
Five Apps Up and Running in Louisiana
The mobile launch came more than two months after the first brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened in the state.
Currently, five mobile operators are active in Louisiana. They are Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and BetRivers.
Caesars, which operates four casinos in Louisiana, has taken several steps over the past year to position itself and become the market leader. That includes acquiring naming rights for the Superdome, landing the Manning family as brand ambassadors, and securing a multi-year partnership with LSU athletics – although that deal came under some scrutiny in recent days after some students were targeted in an email promoting the launch of the Caesars app in the state.
Like most states, sports betting is restricted to people age 21 and older.
The state can approve two skins for each of the 20 casinos in the state. Others expected to launch in the coming months include TwinSpires, WynnBet, and Betfred.
Not Legal in All Parishes
Louisiana legalized sports betting in November 2020 when voters approved a referendum on the general election ballot. However, the measure did not approve online apps or brick-and-mortar sportsbooks statewide.
Each of the 64 parishes within the state held its own election on the issue during the Nov. 3, 2020, election. Voters in 55 parishes approved the measure, which allowed for sports betting to become legal in those communities once the state passed regulations.
Voters in nine parishes rejected sports betting, which meant that even mobile wagering would not be allowed in those jurisdictions. That added an extra wrinkle for GeoComply, which needed to make sure that people in those parishes could not place bets on their computers or mobile devices.
According to GeoComply, more than two-thirds of the transactions it tracked took place in the southeastern corner. That region includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the state’s two largest metro areas.
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