Sports betting opens at 2 Lake Charles casinos Wednesday

Photo of Jacob Dick
The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles will be opening again on Monday, May 18. Photo made on May 15, 2020. Fran Ruchalski/The Enterprise
The Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in Lake Charles will be opening again on Monday, May 18. Photo made on May 15, 2020. Fran Ruchalski/The EnterpriseFran Ruchalski, The Enterprise / The Enterprise

Two nearby Lake Charles casinos are gearing up for patrons to place their first legal sports bets on Wednesday.

L’Auberge Casino Resort and Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino announced that their sports books would open on Wednesday after Louisiana gaming regulatory authorities made inspections on Monday.

On Election Day last year, 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes — including Calcasieu Parish — approved sports betting, but gaming companies holding the state’s coveted casino licenses have been waiting for legislative framework created this spring to take effect.

While the licenses expected to go into effect in Lake Charles and already in use at four other casinos across the state are temporary, permanent licenses are expected to be issued by the middle of next year.

Meanwhile, L’Auberge and Golden Nugget are ready to roll with their recently-adapted sports books and slightly differing formats.

L’Auberge has converted its former Poker Room and Stadium Games area into a sports book with 40 digital betting kiosks while it finishes ticket writing stations.

The book will start taking its first bets at 9 a.m. Wednesday — helping to usher in the start of college basketball.

“We are excited to offer our guests a new Sportsbook experience at L’Auberge Casino Resort,” VP and General Manager Harold Rowland said in a statement. “It’s a really exciting time for us and the State of Louisiana, and I know our Mychoice players will enjoy having this new amenity.”

L’Auberge, a Penn National Gaming casino, is offering a digital tool called Bet Builder that will let players check the book’s lines on games and plan out their wagers before they get to the kiosk, but there was no word yet on the potential for mobile bet-placing.

Golden Nugget’s sports book, which opens 2 p.m. Wednesday, will be positioned in part of the casino’s Blue Martini lounge with six ticket cages. The casino also has positioned 30 digital kiosks around the gaming floors.

According to the company, the casino owned by Tilman Fertitta is still building a permanent, 10,000 square-foot sportsbook and lounge that it promises to be “the largest in Lake Charles.”

The permanent location is expected to open in mid-2022.

What will initially set the Golden Nugget apart from other local sports books is its integrated partnership with Boston’s DraftKings, which could be launching its online sports book in Louisiana sometime next year.

“Coupling the Golden Nugget’s dynamic gaming network with DraftKings innovative tech and trading makes for an unmatched partnership,” Gerry Del Prete, Fertitta Entertainment senior vice president of gaming, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer our combined customer base an unparalleled experience at the Golden Nugget Lake Charles.”

The partnership allows patrons to check lines and plan wagers across DraftKing’s collection of offerings through its app before betting at Golden Nugget.

While Golden Nugget’s partnership also lends it the massive reach that online betting brands like DraftKings have cultivated, Ronnie Johns, chairman of Louisiana’s Gaming Control Board, has previously said it will likely be early 2022 before casinos can begin offering mobile online betting options.

jacob.dick@whlhjz.com

twitter.com/jd_journalism