Fantasy sports betting in Louisiana could begin this spring

Louisiana

FILE – In this May 2, 2019, file photo, the DraftKings logo is displayed at the sports betting company headquarters in Boston. Sports gambling giant DraftKings won’t give a former “Bachelor” contestant the $1 million prize for winning an online fantasy football contest after she and her husband were accused of cheating.Jade Roper-Tolbert beat more than 100,000 entries to take the top prize, but some in the fantasy sports community were quick to allege she coordinated with her husband, Tanner Tolbert, to submit more than the maximum 150 entries. Roper-Tolbert was no longer listed as the winner Saturday. A DraftKings statement says the company decided to update the standings for several contests and did not elaborate. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Businesses that want to operate fantasy sports betting in the 47 Louisiana parishes that approved it two years ago can start applying in February, under action by the state gambling board Thursday.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board adopted the final regulations and licensing application needed for the online cash prize competitions to start later this year, as early as April or May.

Maj. Chuck McNeal, with the Louisiana State Police’s Gaming Enforcement Division, told the board that fantasy sports contest operators can start submitting the applications Feb. 19. He said the suitability investigations conducted by the State Police usually take 60 days to 90 days to complete before an entity can appear before the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for a gambling license.

Under that timeline, fantasy sports betting operations could be up and running by the spring, if the gambling board approves their licenses.

In fantasy sports, people create imaginary teams of real-life sports players and score points based on how those players perform in actual games. Websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel charge an entry fee and offer payouts to winners.

Voters in nearly three-quarters of Louisiana’s 64 parishes agreed in the November 2018 election to legalize fantasy sports betting. Lawmakers have since set the tax rates and the regulatory process. All that remains are the licensing decisions for individual operators from the Gaming Control Board.

Participants in the competitions have to be at least 21 years old. The games only will be permitted in parishes where voters authorized it, but anybody will be able to log into the online sites if they travel to those parishes.

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