FanDuel bringing sports betting to state

Ryan Nelsen | LSU Manship School News Service

            BATON ROUGE—FanDuel, the giant wagering platform, confirmed it is on track to provide fantasy sports gambling in Louisiana by the beginning of this year’s football season.

           Stacie Stern, governmental affairs director at FanDuel, said in an interview that FanDuel is working with Louisiana Gaming Board and the state police to launch its product.

           Two companies have applied to provide fantasy sports contests, according to Maj. Chuck McNeal of the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division, who says both entities will be operational soon. 

“It will definitely happen before the fall,” said McNeal, “as long as my investigators are getting all the documentation and paperwork they need.”

           In 2018, voters in 47 parishes approved daily fantasy games in which users create a fictional roster of players and tally their statistics against other players’ teams for prize money. The games can be played on mobile phones or computers. The state will tax the operators’ net gambling revenue at 8%. 

           Louisiana was one of only seven states that did not allow fantasy sports betting in 2020. People in the 17 parishes that did not vote in favor will not be able to compete within parish lines.

           “Getting the law changed was a really big step for us,” said Stern. “It’s definitely a big sport-fan state, so we’re excited to launch our product.”

           Part of the application process is demonstrating to the State Police that the 17 parishes that did not vote in favor of fantasy gambling cannot compete. This process will utilize geofencing around the parishes that voted against the proposal.

Legislators are debating nine different bills that will set the procedures for gambling on real sports games in Louisiana after 55 parishes voted in favor of that in 2020. Gambling on sporting events is predicted to start in 2022.

“We’re definitely keeping tabs on those and looking to help support those who are advocating sports betting in any way that we can,” said Stern. “To be able to have legal, regulated sports betting in the Bayou State, I think will be really important for the people of Louisiana and for the state to generate a little bit of revenue.”

Stern is not concerned with how much revenue her company will draw in the first year of fantasy sports operating.

           “I don’t think it’s so much about generating revenue,” she said. “I think it’s about allowing the people of Louisiana to enjoy these contests that 43 other states have been enjoying.” 

           FanDuel and its biggest rival, DraftKings, which provide fantasy and sports betting, contributed $250,000 to the Louisiana Wins Campaign in 2020 and $500,000 to the Fairness for Fantasy Sports Louisiana PAC in 2018.