Louisiana Online Poker Legal Definitions

As the 31st largest state in the nation, Louisiana may not be known for its size, nor is it heavily populated, ranked 25th with 4,601,893 (est. 2013) residents, but there’s something about this southern location that sets it apart from the rest of the United States. It’s a special, laid-back way of life based on a deeply ingrained, French derivative Creole culture; a philosophy that is as evident in New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras celebration as it is in the centuries old plantation homes of the Garden District. But while the state’s inherent merrymaking often includes various types of state-regulated gambling, online poker is not one of them.

Americans from coast to coast have been playing online poker virtually since the dawn of the world wide web, but events in recent years have changed the legal climate of internet gambling from state to state. Many online poker fans have adopted the theory that, if it’s not legally regulated in their state, it must be illegal. In many instances, that’s actually not the case. The only way to determine the legalities of online poker in Louisiana is to examine the express laws of the state.

Land-based Gambling in Louisiana

By delving into the legalized forms of gambling in Louisiana, we can often draw information as to the state’s sentiment towards the online variety. Louisiana first legalized gambling in 1823, just 11 years after joining the Union, by establishing what they called Temples of Chance. By 1840, New Orleans was estimated to have 500 gambling destinations. It became so prevalent in the region’s culture that some 700 professional gamblers flocked to the Mississippi River, working their way through games from New Orleans to St. Louis. By 1852, the Bayou State already had its own state-run lottery.

Due to the overwhelming nature of the business, efforts to criminalize gambling were made time and again, but the public was too acquiesce and the government, who hadn’t made a dime off the industry, was all-but powerless to stop it. In the mid 1900’s, the state found a way to accept gambling by collecting 10% of the profit from slot machine industrialist (and known gangster) Frank Costello. Gambling has been big business for commercial companies and the state’s tax coffers ever since.

Deciphering the Laws of Louisiana as they relate to Online Poker

Louisiana lawmakers aren’t the types to skirt major issues or ‘leave well enough alone’ in terms of antiquated legislation. The state appended Title 14 of the Louisiana Code in 1997 to expressly address the issue of internet poker, casino and other gambling options. Below are the relevant excerpts from that legislation and a basic meaning of each.

Section Text Meaning (in re online poker)
14:90 Gambling A.(1)(a)  Gambling is 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. The definition of gambling does not take into account the existence of chance and/or skill. So long as a player is wagering something of value with the opportunity to win something of value, it is defined as Gambling. Hence poker falls under the definition of gambling in Louisiana.
14:90.3 Gambling by Computer B.  Gambling by computer is 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 when accessing the Internet, World Wide Web, or any part thereof by way of any computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, or any server. To participate in online poker with knowledge that real money is in play is defined as Gambling by Computer.
D.  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. Gambling over the internet is illegal and a punishable crime.


Is Online Poker Illegal in Louisiana?

Yes. There is no doubt that online poker, as well as any other form of internet wagering, is illegal in Louisiana. The laws of the state explicitly define the act as being illegal and punishable by up to 6 months in prison and/or up to $500 in fines.

Is Louisiana working to Legalize Online Poker?

Maybe. Despite the fact that Louisiana has gone to great lengths to prohibit online poker within its borders, state legislators also recognize he fact that residents continue to gamble over the internet at unregulated, offshore gaming websites, posing a larger threat to the citizens of the state – particularly the young and vulnerable. As such, lawmakers have introduced bills to regulate online poker and casino gaming, but all efforts have stalled up to this point.

After a study and briefing on internet gaming was released last year, Chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, Ronnie Jones, said he suspected a bill would surface sometime in 2014, but it didn’t happen. In the long term, Louisiana is a likely candidate for legalized online poker, but the current governor isn’t exactly on board. It’s a waiting game at the moment.

Online Poker Players from Louisiana

There are plenty of online per pros from Louisiana, but due to the legal climate surrounding internet gambling, most players from the Creole State aren’t too willing to share their true identity. Those we do know include Joe “Dragon350z” Herbert of Metairie, LA and Angela “PinkLady135” / “PinkyPoker” Martin of Monroe, LA.

Land-Based Card Rooms in Louisiana

The Bayou State plays host to an abundance of casinos. The majority of them are riverboat casinos, but several brick-and-mortar racinos exist along with a throng of Native American casinos. All land-based casinos in Louisiana are listed below, along with their location and the availability of a poker room.

Coushatta Casino Resort
Location: Kinder, LA
Poker Room: Yes

Cypress Bayou Casino
Location: Charenton, LA
Poker Room: No

Delta Downs
Location: Vinton, LA
Poker Room: No

Evangeline Downs
Location: Opelousas, LA
Poker Room: No

Fair Grounds Race Course
Location: New Orleans, LA
Poker Room: No

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Location: Bossier City, LA
Poker Room: No

Harrah’s New Orleans
Location: New Orleans, LA
Poker Room: Yes

Jena Choctaw Pines Casino
Location: Dry Prong, LA
Poker Room: Yes

Paragon Casino Resort
Location: Marksville, LA
Poker Room: Yes


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