Louisiana Betting Handle Slips 26% in Slow February

Louisiana betting handle dipped below $300 million for the first time in five months as the Pelican State picked up wagers of $274.7 million in February. Like most other states, the NFL’s offseason had a significant impact on betting appetite and handle in Louisiana as wagers took a dip in February by 26.2% from January’s $346.3 million.

Of the $274.7 million in handle, operators managed to register $31.2 million in gross gaming revenue, which resulted in a hold of 11.3%. With $6.2 million in promotional bonuses and credits, adjusted taxable revenue was $25 million with Louisiana collecting $3.8 million in tax receipts.

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Louisiana Retail Hold Takes a Beating

Louisiana had a particularly subpar month in the retail sports betting sector. Of the $21.7 million in handle generated, retail locations managed to win just $780,000, which was a 3.6% hold in February. It was the first month since June 2022 when Louisiana did not generate $1 million in gross revenue from the retail sports betting space.

The overall hold for online betting was about 12%, which carried the weighted profit to over 11% in Louisiana in February. Online sports betting helped operators account for $30.4 million in gross profit.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) does not release handle and revenue figures of any individual operator, either online or in the retail sector.

Louisiana Consistent Monthly Handle

Since Feb. 2022, Louisiana has registered consistent betting handle. After three quiet initial months of handle under $100 million, Feb. 2022 was the breakout month for the state, with $238 million in wagers accepted. Ever since then, there have been only four months with handle under $150 million.

That consistency carried on into 2023, with handle of $282.2 million in January. Over the course of 2023, Louisiana managed $2.91 billion in wagers, including a record December, which included $377 million, the highest single-month collection for the state. Only one of those months recorded handle of less than $150 million: July 2023.

With a hold of 12.6% in 2023 — $367 million in gross revenue on handle of $2.9 billion — Louisiana collected $35.9 million in tax last year. That was only $2 million more than 2022’s figures, which was $33.9 million collected in tax after operators generated $189.1 million on $2.3 billion in handle at a hold rate of 8.2%.

In 2024, Louisiana has already racked up $621 million in handle ($346.3 million in January and $274.7 million in February) and is on course to break the barrier of $3 billion.

LA Lawmakers Propose Increase in Free Bets

Earlier this month, House Bill 473 was pre-filed by Republican Rep. John Illg Jr. and Democratic Rep. Steven Jackson, which proposed to increase the amount of free bets and promotional credits that online sportsbooks could deduct from taxable revenue. The current tax rate in Louisiana stands at 15% for online operators and 10% for retail locations.

The bill would reduce the overall tax burden for individual operators, thereby resulting in lower tax collection for the state as a whole. HB 473 was referred to the House of Representatives’ Committee for the Administration of Criminal Justice, and lawmakers will have until the first week of June to address legislation around sports betting during the regular session.

With already more than $600 million in sports betting handle across the first two months of the year, Louisiana will likely break the annual record of wagers in the state in 2024.

In January this year, sportsbooks spent $13.8 million in promos during the NFL playoffs, which was reduced by almost half to $6.2 million in February with the football season winding down. Still, the $6.2 million spent in February was more than 50% up from February’s spend last year, another positive metric of comparison for sports betting appetite in the state of Louisiana.

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About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro covers the sports betting industry and revenue reporting at Gaming Today. Much of his work analyzes state revenue information, including betting activity and revenue for individual states and sportsbook operators. In addition, Nikhil provides news updates on the gambling industry itself, including product launches and legal issues. Nikhil’s previous experience includes five years with ESPN.

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