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Sports betting takes off in Louisiana during March Madness

Sports betting was legalized in Louisiana in 2021. By 2022, you could place a bet from anywhere using your phone.
Credit: Chris Russell

NEW ORLEANS — As the remaining few teams battled it out for the final four spots of March Madness, Louisiana is cashing in. 

Sports betting was legalized in Louisiana in 2021. By 2022, you could place a bet from anywhere using your phone. 

Frank Caracci was enjoying the Sportsbook at Harrah's Casino Saturday night with friends. 

“We bet on women’s UConn; we took the men’s UConn tonight. Parlayed that to K-State. So, we got a few different bets going," Caracci said. 

You can place three kinds of wagers at Harrah's: in-person, at a kiosk or on their app. 

Rob Brown, VP of operations, said there's something special about coming to the casino. 

"It's not just the betting it's the comradery the people being here the energy that you just don't get at home or other places," Brown said. 

Brown said they've seen large crowds thanks to March Madness. 

“Financially, we don’t make a lot of money off sports betting contrary to what people believe because of all the money that exchanges hands, but it’s not setup that way. The real benefit is the energy and the draw. It’s really an attraction for our city," Brown said. 

Louisiana is making millions of dollars off the gambling. 

25 percent of the revenue funds early childhood education, and the rest goes towards general funds and local government. 

However, sports betting remains illegal in nine parishes: 

  • Caldwell
  • Catahoula
  • Franklin
  • Jackson
  • LaSalle
  • Sabine
  • Union
  • West Carroll
  • Winn

"Look every casino needs a Sportsbook and this one in particular finally getting a sportsbook with the Pelicans and the Saints and just the sports town that it is, you know, it's a great addition," Caracci said.

The Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling said their helpline receives between 10-25 percent more calls in March. They're anticipating a higher call volume because of online sports wagering. 

If you or a loved one needs help, you can call or text: 1-877-770-STOP. 

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