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Louisiana Online Gambling Laws

Louisiana gambling law specifically addresses the issue of online gambling and online poker. Anyone who intentionally conducts or assists others in conducting as a business any contest, game, lottery or contrivance where an individual risks the loss of something of value to realize a profit using the internet will be charged with gambling by computer. The law does not specifically make playing online poker or casino games illegal. It is aimed at persons and businesses who conduct or operate online poker games and gambling activities. The penalties for online gambling are amongst the stiffest in the whole of the United States. Based on this we strongly advise players to never consider participating in an online gambling operation that is located within the state of Louisiana until such time that the state legalizes state based online gambling.

Alternatively, there are Louisiana online gambling sites which are legally licensed and are regulated and located outside of the United States. These online gambling operations legally accept US players, including those from Louisiana, and because they are not located within the state boundaries, they do not violate state laws. Participation at these legal offshore gambling sites does not constitute participating in illegal online gambling as defined by Louisiana state law. Legal online gambling options at licensed offshore gambling sites include Louisiana online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting sites, as well as online bingo halls that accept LA players.

Anyone convicted of gambling by computer can be sent to jail for a term that can extend to 6 months and/or fined up to five hundred dollars. Most provisions of Louisiana gambling law are aimed at individuals and business that conduct illegal gambling activities. There are very few provisions targeting individual who take part in an illegal gambling activity as mere players. Underage gambling is a crime and so is gambling in public. While the state has one of the stiffest penalties for online gambling, it continues to be a gambling friendly state with many casinos and other forms of legalized gambling.

Louisiana Gambling Laws concerning Poker

Poker games are legal if they meet certain conditions. The objective of Louisiana gambling law is to ensure that the residents are not running an illegal gambling business. So as long as a game of poker is not run like a business, it is legal. To make sure that a home game of poker is not considered an illegal gambling business, the host must not rake the pot or charge any fee. In Louisiana gambling in public is illegal. The game of poker must be held in a private setting behind closed doors.

The players must not make a public nuisance of themselves. In most states the legal age for gambling is 18 but in Louisiana it is 21. So all players must be aged 21 or more. Playing a game of poker with those under the legal gambling age can result in a fine of five hundred dollars and a prison term of 6 months or more. At this time it is not legal to operate an online poker site within the state of Louisiana. Players looking for online poker options are best to restrict their playing to legally licensed Louisiana online poker rooms that are regulated and located outside of the USA.

History of Land Based Gambling In Louisiana

Louisiana has a long history of gambling. It was amongst the first major areas for gambling in the United States. When Louisiana became a part of the United States in 1803, there were more gambling centers in New Orleans than New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore put together. In 1812 when the federal government banned gambling, it exempted New Orleans. After statehood, Louisiana legalized casinos only to ban them later and again legalize them.

In 1991 the state approved 15 river boat casinos and also legalized video poker machines. Later on when Edwin Edwards became the governor of Louisiana, he guided legislation authorizing construction of a casino in the Crescent City. After Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, many Indian tribes in the state negotiated compacts with the state and opened land based casinos on Indian reservations. Today there are numerous licensed casinos in the state - from small traditional riverboat casinos to large resort style casinos. These casinos offer almost all the games one can find at a large casino in Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Many of these casinos in the state offer real money poker. Video poker machines can be found at casinos, gas stations, bars, restaurants and truck stops. Any business with a liquor license in Louisiana can have up to three video gaming machines.

Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing is legal in the state. It first legalized pari-mutuel betting on horse races at the New Orleans Fair Grounds in 1920. Gambling on cockfighting and dogfighting are illegal in the state. The state gambling law makes a specific mention about cockfighting and dogfighting.

While the modern day state lottery was started in 1991, Louisiana created its first Louisiana lottery way back in 1866. Two years later the Louisiana State Lottery Company, a private company was authorized to operate it. In 1879 when the state legislature abolished all lotteries, the company appealed and won the legal battle against the government. However in the mid 1890s when the company's charter came up for renewal, the legislature prohibited its renewal. Since then there was no lottery in the state until the Louisiana state lottery started in 1991.

Social Gambling Laws in Louisiana

Social gambling in the form of personal bets, pool games and betting on sports is legal as long as no one charges a fee or makes a profit for managing the transaction. Non-profit organizations can conduct bingo, raffles and keno for fund raising purposes.

Federal Online Gambling Laws That Affect Louisiana Players

Currently there are not any federal laws which prohibit US players from participating in legally licensed and certified online gambling sites which are regulated and located outside of the United States. The 2011 Black Friday events have confused many players into thinking that it is illegal for USA players to participate in online gambling. This however is not the case. That investigation was targeting online poker operations which were suspected of violating the regulations set forth in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which places strict regulatory oversight concerning how online gambling transactions are to be processed. The law does not target or affect players in any way, and the Black Friday investigation did not include players on any level. Legally licensed Louisiana sports betting, casino gaming, poker play and bingo that is regulated outside of the United States remain untouched by this law. The DOJ has also declared that the legality of online gambling can be decided on a state by state basis; hence state based online gambling is a possibility for the state of Louisiana in the future.

Louisiana Gambling Laws

We have included some links to resources which will provide those interested with access to the laws in their original legislative context and language. You will be directed to the actual documents on the official LA state legislature website.

Louisiana State Legislature Website

**This page is intended for informational purposes only, and is not intended or qualified to serve as or substitute for professional legal advice, services, or interpretation of any law or statute. If you are seeking legal services of any type, we recommend you contact a lawyer. We are not lawyers and cannot provide any type of legal service.