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Louisiana Poker Laws

Louisiana PokerLouisiana is a state that is well known for gambling activity. The gambling history in Louisiana dates back to the 1700s. Almost all forms of gambling are legal in Louisiana in authorized settings. You would think that with their acceptance of gambling that they would be one of the first states to legalize online gambling, but that has not been the case. In fact, it doesn’t seem like Louisiana wants online poker or any other online games legalized at this time.

Can Players From Louisiana Play Real Money Poker Online?

Yes! The best poker sites accept players from Louisiana. There are a few sites that accept players from the US that do not accept players from Louisiana, but these are mainly small sites. If you want to play online poker then you should have no problems finding a site that will gladly allow you to register and play for real money.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Louisiana?

Louisiana offers almost any form of legalized gambling that you can think of, but they do not like it when people gamble illegally. There are some laws that reference gambling by computers. We have found no instances where anyone has been charged with any of these crimes in Louisiana. The lawmakers of Louisiana seem more concerned with the operator of the gambling site than the person that is playing, but that is not saying that you can’t be charged for playing.

We have an overview of some of the Louisiana statutes concerning gambling below:

  • Louisiana defines gambling as the intention 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.
  • Louisiana Section 90.1 states: Upon conviction of a person for the crime of gambling, gambling by computer, or related offenses, the evidence, property, and paraphernalia seized as instruments of such crime shall, upon order of the court, be destroyed when it is no longer needed as evidence and all such evidence, property, and paraphernalia found to be in use in the conduct of such unlawful activity and having a value for lawful purposes, shall be sold under the orders of the court at public.
  • Louisiana Section 90.3 states: Whoever commits the crime of gambling by computer shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. [1]
  • Home poker games could be considered illegal according to the definition of gambling in Louisiana.

The state of Louisiana has some of the most harsh punishments we have seen when it comes to illegal gambling. We have not found any cases on record where an individual has been charged for playing poker online, but according to the laws individuals can be charged. So, you are playing at your own risk if you decide to play poker online in Louisiana.

Louisiana Gambling History

Gambling has always played an important role in the revenue of Louisiana and continues to do so today. The recorded history of gambling dates back to the early 1700s. In 1727, the St. Louis Church was built, and many of the residents were upset because people chose to gamble instead of attending church. This prompted a law being passed that outlawed gambling during the time of religious services. This didn’t deter the gamblers, though. The government finally passed a law which prohibited gambling all together, but the people of Louisiana were gamblers, and nothing deterred them from continuing. The government finally conceded and opened the first government ran casino in 1753.

Louisiana became a US territory in 1803, and gambling was rich in New Orleans. It was such a major part of the community that the federal government exempted New Orleans from the ban on the Louisiana territory in 1812. Over the next few years Louisiana went from one extreme to another legalizes and banning gambling. The laws went back and forth until 1823 when the state approved six operations for New Orleans.

The first lottery in the state of Louisiana was in 1866. This lottery lasted a short time until 1879 when a law was passed to abolish the lottery. There was a lot of corruption which brought about the decision to abolish it. However, the company that was running the lottery fought back and the US Circuit Court forced Louisiana to allow the company to continue with the lottery because they had no choice due to the contract the state had made with the corporation running the lottery. The lottery was very successful for many years, but in 1892, those that opposed the lottery finally elected an official to fight against it, and the lottery was deemed illegal and shut down.

The early 1900s brought pari-mutuel betting on horse races to New Orleans. In the 1920s this was the only legalized gambling in the state of Louisiana, but the gamblers continued to gamble at illegal casinos. These casinos were raided at times, but they continued to operate. The state had plenty of money coming in from their oil at this time so they were not concerned with making money from gambling.

This all changed in 1980s. The economy was collapsing, and Louisiana needed new revenue streams. Some lawmakers wanted to legalize some forms of gambling to bring in more revenue, but other lawmakers were opposed. The battle went on until the early 1990s when the voters of Louisiana approved a state lottery. This lottery went into effect in 1991.

Cash strapped Louisiana also approved 15 riverboat casinos and legalized video poker machines in 1991. Video machines had been operating around the state illegally prior to the legislation. This just allowed the state to start collecting some money on these illegal operations.

In 1993, three Native American tribes in Louisiana were granted compacts with the state to open land based casinos. More and more gambling was legalized in the state of Louisiana in the upcoming years. Today, you will find a legal avenue to participate in almost any gambling avenue you choose in the state of Louisiana. [2]

Legalized Gambling Options in Louisiana

Casinos, state lottery, and race tracks are abundant in Louisiana. The state is like a gamblers dream. Regardless of where you are in the state, you won’t be far from a legal gambling venue. From New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Lake Charles and Shreveport, and many locations in between, you will find casinos and racetracks. You can buy lottery tickets at almost any convenience store, and you can even play video poker games in stores. [3]

Will Louisiana Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

Louisiana is one of the few states that have actually addressed online gambling. At this point, they are against it. The existing places to gamble in Louisiana don’t want people gambling online because they want them to come spend their money there. It is likely that the casinos and racetracks will fight hard against any legislation to legalize online gambling.

We do not think that it is likely that Louisiana will legalize online gambling in the near future. It is unclear at this time if Louisiana will opt out of any federal legislation to legalize online poker.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Louisiana Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ Louisiana Gambling History
  3. Jump up ^ Gaming in Louisiana
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