Louisiana is a state famous for its gambling history. In the city of New Orleans, billiard halls were built even before the first church had finished construction! Such was its notoriety as the main casino city in Louisiana, it was exempt from the statewide gambling ban that was passed in 1866.
Casinos in Louisiana
Casinos weren’t legalized again until 1993, though illegal gambling was still rife in those 127 years. It was heavily regulated, and venues were restricted to riverboats in an effort to contain the influence that gambling would have compared to allowing land-based venues, and the indirect time limit placed on gambling restricted by the length of the cruise itself.
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Over time, like many other states, gambling laws have been eased bit by bit, although Louisiana has been trailing behind the majority. Online gambling is the last area with very tight restrictions, but they are showing signs of letting up, albeit slowly.
If you’re a fan of sports betting, Louisiana has recently legalized sportsbooks both online and offline, while if you’re wanting to play at a real money online casino Louisiana state law continues to ban these. You can also now play the state lottery online as of 2022 as well as buying tickets at kiosks, which was the only way you could previously play since its official launch in 1991.
In considering regulation for online gambling Louisiana legislators have been keeping a close eye on the social and economic impact on other states as their gambling laws are adjusted to adapt to modern technology and ever-evolving public sentiment. A major benefit to legalizing gambling is the increased tax revenue, both from the gambling establishments and the winners as individuals, and many are coming around to the idea that a legalized yet regulated system would benefit the state overall. This is a period of exciting change surrounding Louisiana gambling laws and while progress might be slow, the situation at this time remains fluid.
Top Gambling Cities In Louisiana
Known as the home of the original gambling scene in the United States, as the laws have twisted, reversed and been adjusted over the decades, you’ll find many of the state’s casinos on riverboats. When laws on gambling started to relax a little in some states, including Louisiana, the Pelican State was by chance very well positioned as it borders a state with no casinos whatsoever (apart from one tribal gaming casino which is under federal as opposed to state jurisdiction): Texas.
This meant the casino industry boomed in Louisiana, with Texans crossing the border to get in on the action too. Unlike the flamboyant extravagance found in Las Vegas, and its cooler cousin of Atlantic City, Louisiana casinos offer a charm and a rich history that is unmatched.
Lake Charles Casinos
Lake Charles is probably the go-to destination in Louisiana if you’re looking for a flashy and extravagant casino experience more akin to Las Vegas. Here you’ll find the luxurious L’Auberge, with 75 gaming tables and over 1600 slot machines boasting the latest technology and games, as well as their poker room. Or you may prefer the Golden Nugget, where you’re sure to get the star treatment; their customer service is famous for being exceptional.
This casino has 87 table games, 7 live-action poker tables and over 1600 slot machines, including 3D slots. Both of these casinos are officially riverboat casinos due to the state’s licensing restrictions, but have cleverly overcome these geotechnical challenges by creating ‘floating casinos’ on water within the overall hotel development complex.
New Orleans Casinos
With it’s rich history as the main gambling city in Louisiana, New Orleans boasts the only land based non-tribal casino in the whole of the state. The Harrah’s New Orleans Casino and Hotel is worth a visit just for that accolade; it’s referred to in state statute as ‘the official gaming establishment’. It has over 1500 slot machines, video poker, and over 100 table games of different varieties.
Baton Rouge Casinos
There is another L’Auberge casino located in the state capital of Baton Rouge, with 74,000 square feet of gaming space. It offers 1500 slot machines, a poker room and 50 table games. For an authentic riverboat casino experience, head to the 268 foot four-deck sternwheeler at Belle of Baton Rouge. This casino has over 400 slot and video poker machines, as well as electronic table games offering games such as Fusion Blackjack, Shoot to Win Craps and Fusion Roulette.
State of Online Gambling
Up until recently, Louisiana was one of the few states where online gambling was strictly prohibited, with the exception of pari-mutuel (i.e. horse racing). The legislation specifically prohibited ‘gambling by computer’ and came with a fine of ‘not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.’
However, in January 2022, most parishes in Louisiana finally relaxed their laws on sports betting online, and the State Lottery can be played online or via an app too.
Despite the state’s rich history of gambling (both legal and illegal), and its relatively relaxed laws on in-person casino licenses, Louisiana has been slow to loosen the restrictions on online sports betting, with some of the most severe penalties for breaking those laws. Yet politicians could not deny the vast amounts of tax revenue being generated through legalized gambling in other states, both online and offline, and have recently taken steps to try and get in on the action.
Online casino games, including poker, slot machines and games such as blackjack and roulette, remain prohibited, but the situation seems to be going through a period of change and laws may ease in the future. Considering Louisiana collected over $2.2 million in taxes in the first full month after mobile sports betting went live, this lucrative form of state revenue may well extend to online casinos at some point fairly soon.
Online Poker in Lousiana
Current Louisiana gambling laws prohibit online poker in any form, although with the recent changes in legislation and the potential increased revenue from taxation, this may change in the future. Be wary of poker sites that state they accept players from Louisiana, as state law is very clear that both residents of and visitors to the state are precluded from playing online poker.
Louisiana Sports Betting Online
Online sports betting was finally legalized in the majority of Louisiana parishes on January 28th 2022, with Caesars, FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. There are still 9 out of 64 parishes which do not permit sports betting, and players are only allowed to wager when within the physical borders of permitted parishes. This will be enforced using geolocation technology via smartphones and if you attempt to place any bets from outside of those borders, they will be refused.
There are currently 7 online sports betting apps live in Louisiana, with capacity for up to 40 across 20 license holders. The Louisiana lottery can also now be played online and will have kiosks in bars and restaurants statewide as well.
Casino Games in Louisiana
Louisiana and Nevada are the only two states who permit casino-style gambling venues statewide, with licensing and zoning restrictions applied, so the Pelican State is the perfect place if you fancy a spin in casinos in Louisiana with slot machines, video poker games and table games available. Often in Louisiana you’ll find video poker machines in truck stops and restaurants, bars and hotels, and slot machines and Vegas-style casino games at the racetrack.
Tribal Gaming in Louisiana
Louisiana has 4 Native American owned casinos which are approved by the federal government and exempt from state licensing laws. There is also an additional state-licensed casino; the Margaritaville Resort Casino owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians from Alabama.
Tribal gaming generates a lot of revenue due to the reduced legal restrictions, for both the state and the Native American community. Gaming revenue is integral to the tribes’ goals of becoming economically self-sufficient and self-governing.
Lousiana Gambling FAQs
What is the legal gambling age in Louisiana?
In order to gamble in Louisiana, you have to be at least 21 years of age.
Is online gambling legal in Louisiana?
Online sports betting recently became legalized in Louisiana, however online casino gaming is still prohibited. This includes online poker, online slot machines and table games. The current situation appears to be going through a period of change, however, so this may be relaxed in the future.
What is the most popular casino in Louisiana?
Harrah’s in New Orleans is a firm favorite as it was, and technically remains, the only land based casino in the state, but for glamour and the star treatment experience, the Golden Nugget in Lake Charles is quickly catching up in popularity.
Does Louisiana tax gambling winnings?
Yes, you have to declare your winnings on your tax return as they count as taxable income. Depending on how much you win and venue policy, the casino or sportsbook may withhold the tax amount before paying out, or you will pay it yourself after filing your tax return.
How much does Louisiana tax gambling winnings?
For casinos, if you win $1200 or more on slot machines, or $5000 for poker, you are taxed on those winnings at a flat rate of 24%. Sportsbooks winnings over $600 are also taxed at 24%.
When did Louisiana legalize gambling?
Despite its reputation as the original gambling state, Louisiana has had a complicated relationship with gambling for decades, even centuries. Gambling in its various forms continually switched between legal and illegal and back again, until finally by 2020 the majority of rules had relaxed, with some online sports betting following suit in 2022. The situation, however, remains fluid and subject to change.
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
For anyone hoping for legal sports betting Louisiana finally permitted retail sportsbooks in the state in 2020, and online sports betting was legalized two years later, meaning Louisiana has eventually caught up with many other states, as previously you were only allowed to wager on pari-mutuel, i.e. horse racing.
Is poker legal to play in Louisiana?
Unfortunately, poker remains illegal to play online, though if you’re a poker buff you can legally play at any of Louisiana’s poker tables in their physical casinos. Video poker is everywhere in Louisiana; they are authorized for use in racetracks, hotels and motels, restaurants, bars and truck stops. As a rule of thumb, if an establishment holds a liquor license, you’ll likely find some video poker machines there too.
Are slot machines legal to play in Louisiana?
Physical slot machines that you play in person are permitted in riverboat casinos and racinos, and of course Harrah’s. Playing slot machines online remains illegal, but if the last couple of years is anything to go by, there could well be a loosening of the law around this in due course.