Louisiana has a very rich gambling history going back hundreds of years and has always been one of the most permissive states where gambling is concerned, a tradition that continues today.
However, they are known to be quite strict in prohibiting unapproved or unregulated gambling, although the laws pertaining to gambling are focused upon the unlawful conducting of gambling business within the state and not on the act of gambling itself.
It is common for online commentators to proclaim that online gambling is illegal in Louisiana, but these folks generally don’t look at the laws that carefully. I’ve even read that online poker is explicitly illegal in Louisiana, and in fact this view has led most offshore online poker rooms to steer clear of this state and not accept players from there, but is it actually illegal to play online poker in Louisiana?
So the first thing we need to look at is how gambling is defined under Louisiana criminal statutes. Definitions very often matter in law and we can’t just take common usage as what is intended.
Section 90 (a) defines gambling as “the intentional conducting, or directly assisting in the conducting, as a business, of any game, contest, lottery, or contrivance whereby a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit.” (1). So given that the offense of gambling itself is thereby limited to conducting gambling activities, this alone would exclude the act of merely participating in it, as that does not fall within the definition of gambling.
However, what tends to throw people off is the existence of Section 90.3, “Gambling By Computer.” (2). However the definition of gambling by computer is the same as the general definition of gambling, although this specifically addresses conducting or assisting in the conducting by computer.
So gambling, or at least gambling in an unauthorized manner, is clearly a criminal offense in the State of Louisiana, it’s just that what is meant by gambling in this state is exclusively a matter of conducting, as a business, or assisting in the conducting of gambling, as a business. So it’s illegal to conduct gambling but not illegal at all to participate, or to gamble in other words.
So if you are looking to participate in gambling and are located in Louisiana, it isn’t a matter of there being laws against this which aren’t being enforced, like some people think, there simply isn’t any law against it at all.
Live Poker In Louisiana
Louisiana has a very thriving casino presence in the state, with revenues exceeding $2.4 billion a year, placing them fifth among states with the largest casino revenues. They also boast a total of over 30 million visitors per year. Three of Louisiana’s 18 casinos rank in the top 20 in the country in terms of revenue (3).
There are a total of 11 live poker rooms in the state. They include:
- Belle of Baton Rouge in Baton Rouge (6 tables)
- Coushatta Casino in Kinder (20 tables)
- Harrah’s New Orleans in New Orleans (20 tables)
- Isle Of Capri Casino Lake Charles in Westlake (8 tables)
- L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge in Baton Rouge (7 tables)
- Paragon Casino in Marksville (8 tables)
- Boomtown Casino New Orleans in Harvey (7 tables)
- Eldorado Casino Shreveport in Shreveport (9 tables)
- Horseshoe Casino Bossier City in Bossier City (12 tables)
- Jena Choctaw Pines Casino in Dry Prong (5 tables)
- L’Auberge Casino Lake Charles in Lake Charles (7 tables). (4)
So although most of these poker rooms are on the smaller side, the passion for poker that Louisianans have for the game has not diminished.
Louisiana Online Poker
When people talk about which states are most likely to be the next in line to pass online poker legislation, Louisiana usually isn’t near the top of the list. However that view is about to change, as the Louisiana State legislature has now passed an online poker bill at the time of this writing and is now ready to send it to the State Senate. (5)
So this rather surprising development now probably has Louisiana as the clear front runner in the state likely to be the next one to regulate online poker. State legislators are excited about the possibility of increased tax revenue from online poker and seem to be both ready and willing to make this happen and rather soon at that.
So the wait for Louisianans to play regulated online poker may not be that long at all. Meanwhile, while online poker sites don’t really accept people from Louisiana anymore, there is one site which currently does, and it also happens to be one of our top recommended sites taking American players as well.
Given that it is not against the law to play online poker in Louisiana right now, and that’s pretty clear actually, there’s no reason to wait to get involved if you don’t want to, and if you are from Louisiana and would like to play online poker again right now, or would like to try it for the first time, the folks at Ignition Poker are more than happy to welcome you to their top-rated online poker site.
As an incentive for just trying them out, you will be rewarded with an equal amount of your first deposit with them in free bonus cash, up to a total of $1000. Given that this is the only game in town right now if you’re from Louisiana, as far as online poker goes anyway, this is the easiest choice you will ever make.
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