Louisiana Sports Betting Handle Dips in January

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Louisiana sportsbooks accepted $346.2 million in wagers in Jan. 2024, marking a small decline from $377 million in Dec. 2023. While the numbers may indicate a shrinking market, experts attribute it to December being one of the all-time highs for the state in terms of Louisiana sports betting handle — a record that may not be surpassed in the immediate future.

Expectedly, gaming revenue was also down, as December’s 11.2% hold could not be sustained into the new year, despite operators aiming for the double-digit hold during a period of month-on-month decline.

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board announced that the state’s online and physical sportsbooks pulled in a revenue of $38.8 million, significantly below the $55.7 million generated in December. If operators had kept their promotional spends within the same limits as the previous months, sportsbooks would have more than likely posted higher profit margins.

Sportsbooks are spending more on promotional offers to attract new customers. In January, Louisiana sportsbooks reported promotional deductions of $13.8 million, a figure higher than the amount spent on promos in the last four months combined. Accordingly, January’s sports betting activity in Louisiana earned the state $5.6 million in taxes.

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Louisiana Mobile Betting Makes Strides

The 10 mobile sportsbooks in the Pelican State spent heavily to attract new players and reactivate dormant customers. Physical operators posted another year-on-year decline as online operators are now on a six-month streak of improved growth in revenue and handle compared to the same period of the last year. Similarly, the state’s 15 riverboat casinos, which together form the primary source of the state’s gaming revenue, witnessed a 23.1% month-on-month and a 17.7% year-on-year drop in revenues.

In Louisiana, digital operators are allowed to have a maximum spend of $5 million per calendar year. In January alone, the state’s sportsbooks took advantage of $13.8 million in promotional credits and bonuses to claim an all-time-high for promotional spending. The previous record for promotional credits stood at $11.7 million in Jan. 2022, when mobile betting was first launched in the state.

Year-on-year handle surged by 22.7% to $346 million, the third largest handle in Louisiana state history. January’s handle was only 8.1% below the record $377 million set in Dec. 2023. With figures from mobile and retail betting painting contrasting pictures, the writing is on the wall. Online and mobile sports betting is on an uptick in Louisiana, while retail sports betting is in a state of steady decline.

Jan. 2024 was the first time that Louisiana operators crossed $50 million in winnings over consecutive months However, January’s figure was down 6.8% compared to the $56.5 million held by operators in the previous month.

Due to the state’s high promotional spends, it was able to tax nearly $39 million in adjusted gross revenue, amounting to roughly 74% of the state’s gross gaming revenue. At the end of Jan. 2023, all-time sports wagering taxes collected in Louisiana exceeded $80 million.

Breakup of Promotional Spends Uncertain

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board does not disclose handle and revenue figures of the state’s operators on an individual level. Therefore, it’s not known which of the state’s sportsbooks spent the most on promotional offers.

Less established players like bet365 and ESPN BET are likely to have represented a substantial portion of the recorded $13.8 million in promotional spends. Bet365 launched in the state in late Nov. 2023 and ESPN BET is set to make a fresh start following a complete rebrand from PENN Entertainment’s Barstool Sportsbook.

Parlay wagering continued to be the biggest source of revenue for Louisiana sportsbooks. In Jan. 2024, state bettors wagered nearly $31.1 million in parlay wagers after setting an all-time record in Dec. 2023, with $43.2 million.

From the figures disclosed, operators would need a combined handle of nearly $155.5 million to capture a 20% hold in the state. Football and basketball wagers have accounted for nearly $7.6 million in operator revenue, with another $1 million coming in from all other sports combined.

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About the Author
Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro

Nikhil Kalro is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specializations include soccer, football, basketball, tennis, and esports betting.

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