Lafayette - The sports betting industry has grown exponentially over the last few years. For Louisianians they can now officially partake in the action as the pelican state became the twenty-ninth state to legalize gambling on sports.
The world series may be over but there’s still plenty of sports from football to basketball and everything in between that you can bet on and potentially win some extra cash.
"It is nice to have that as an option for the people that love sports," said Tyler Keeler, a student at UL-Lafayette.
Casinos around Louisiana began accepting the very first bets this last weekend when the New Orleans Saints took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Keeler, a New Orleans native, isn’t the biggest sports fan, but knows plenty of people down in Saints nation who are ready to wage it all.
"I’ve never bet on any sports and I’m not actually a big sports fan," Keeler said. "But I have a lot of friends who make fantasy leagues and are really into betting as much as they are the actual games themselves."
Dawson Damico is another New Orleans native and big sports fan. He isn’t new to sports gambling -- having placed the occasional wager amongst friends.
"I’ve always done like gambling; I wouldn’t say actually gambling but putting a few bets on the side with a couple of friends for a few sporting events," he said.
But the prospect of being able to walk into a casino and physically place a bet has him stoked.
"I’m actually super excited," Damico said.
While Keeler isn’t the biggest sports fan, he is open to the idea of throwing a few bucks on a game should he happen to already be at a casino.
"I feel like adding another venue for people to go to and try something new, even for people like myself that have never bet on sports," Keeler said. "If I’m at a casino and I see that that’s an option I could be intrigued to try it out."
Damico says the interest sports wagering will draw from the biggest fanatics like himself to the casuals like Keeler, will only help increase popularity of sports overall.
"I’m a huge Saints fan, but if I’m betting on a Chiefs versus Bills game, I’m going to want to watch that game as well," he said. "So, you’re going to become a fan of these clubs and the sport in general."
Five casinos in the state currently off sportsbooks:
- Boomtown Casino & Hotel (New Orleans 4132 Peters Rd, Harvey, LA 70058 Kambi)
- Harrah's New Orleans Hotel & Casino (228 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130 Caesars Sportsbook)
- Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel & Casino (711 Horseshoe Blvd, Bossier City, LA 71111 Caesars Sportsbook)
- L'auberge Casino Hotel (Baton Rouge 777 L’Auberge Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70820 Kambi)
- Paragon Casino Resort and Hotel(711 Paragon Pl, Marksville, LA 71351 Betfred Sports)