The State of Louisiana has a fascinating history when it comes to gambling activities, even if we go all the way back to the days of early French and Spanish settlers. Some believe that the deepest roots of gambling lie in the Bayou State, looking at other states in the American South. Gambling facilities have been established even before there were any churches built. Louisiana legislature permitted six casinos in 1823 New Orleans; at this point, craps was a very popular game. The dice game introduced by the French settlers even gave the name to a street in the city. In the 1830s, the state’s legislators turned their backs on licensing casinos, but most of them still continued to operate against regulations. But good times were ahead for many casinos which thrived in the early days of New Orleans. They are now legal gambling establishments in downtown, and there are others as well in the surrounding areas.
After the Civil War, Louisiana was the only state in the country to have a legal lottery. Run by the Louisiana State Lottery Company, after nearly 15 years of operation, the state lottery closed by 1892, as people started to question its moral background and its associations with corruption. A century had to pass before lottery was brought back in the Bayou State. Today’s lottery partially funds education in Louisiana. Pooled betting on horse races at state fairs was the only legal gambling option for a long time, and it was regulated in the 1920s. This industry has particularly grown in the State of Louisiana, as there are now full-scale racinos which offer slot games alongside betting on races. Bingo games found their way onto Louisiana gaming floors in the late 1980s. Video poker machines are allowed in trucks stops and taverns since 1991, and in that same year Louisiana riverboat casino operators were given 15 licenses to run casino businesses on anchored barges near the shore. After all, anything floating in the water counts as a riverboat. As far as land-based gambling goes, no other state in the South can compare to Louisiana. The situation is somewhat different when it comes to placing a wager online.
Land Based Casinos
Residents of the Bayou State are lucky to have plenty of options and plenty of locations within their native state where they can practice their gambling skills, make fortunes, have some fun and relax. Louisiana casinos, all 28 of them, offer popular games and various forms of accommodation, entertainment and other amenities. It would be more accurate to say that most of Louisiana casinos are water-based than land-based, as almost all of them are racinos. Harrah’s New Orleans is the only exception, being situated in downtown New Orleans. It has a poker room, nearly 2,100 slot machines and more than 90 gaming tables on offer. A large hotel was added in 2006 (the casino was opened in 1999) with 450 rooms. There are several Native American casinos, but riverboat casinos tend to be better equipped and more lavish.
More notable venues in the Bayou State are Paragon Casino in Marksville with around 2,000 slot machines, Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge with nearly 1,500 slots and Golden Nugget in Lake Charles with over 1,600 slots, 75 table games and 6 live-action poker tables. The Golden Nugget experience includes restaurants, concerts and shows of world-class performers, nightlife options and a range of on-site amenities. Let’s not forget the operating racetrack establishments: Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, Delta Downs in Vinton and Fairgrounds Race Course in New Orleans. All of these facilities have slot machines in their premises, and if you wish to play video poker you just need to go to the nearest truck stop or bar.
One might think that no Louisiana citizen would, in this situation, go to a computer and load an online casino. The reality proves otherwise. Still, there are offshore US-facing online casinos that accept players from LA. One of them is Bovada Casino, a prestigious brand that’s still standing with its head up high. Bovada showers Louisiana gamblers with all the charms of a proper Vegas-style casino. We’re talking about classic and video slots galore, table game favorites like roulette, baccarat, blackjack or Caribbean Hold’em, specialty games and video poker. Bovada also has an operational mobile version, allows Bitcoin transactions and approves Amex deposits and withdrawals by cheque.
Regulation and Legality of Online Gambling
LA is one of the few states in the US to express its attitude towards placing bets on gambling websites explicitly – it is thought to be a criminal act. Other than enforcing the Wire Act and the UIGEA, Louisiana has its own Gambling by Computer Prohibition. This legislation came into effect in 1997 and it covers a lot of ground. Unlike some statutes which primarily go after the online casino operator, this regulation includes software designers, developers, website administrators and anyone who is involved in maintaining the network that enables the casino games to be played. As you can see, gambling in Louisiana is a risky business. Many are fine with taking a risk, despite the fact that individual players could face criminal offense charges and a potential prison sentence of up to six months should their activities get uncovered.
Is online gambling legal in Louisiana?
Online gambling is illegal in Louisiana. Yes, you read that right. Unlike most states, which don’t have any laws even defining online gambling, Louisiana’s legislation has an entire section dedicated to ‘gambling by computer’ (RS 14:90.3).
This means that lawmakers are not only aware of the phenomenon, but that they were also willing to impose strict penalties upon anyone looking to circumvent the linear and pretty bland design of the state’s gambling industry.
It gets even worse from there. If you are caught gambling online in Louisiana, you can be caught exactly two times before the offense is converted into a criminal felony. Therefore, playing at online casinos in this state is a relatively high-risk activity. However, despite strict laws, the situation is completely different.
In reality, Louisiana law enforcement rarely enforces these laws in cases of people using their PC or smartphone. This means that they essentially turn a blind eye when it comes to such activities. They are, however, much more serious when it comes to cracking down on illegal gambling operations.
While online casinos aren’t based in Louisiana, the state currently has 24 land-based and riverboat casinos, with 25 additional locations offering video poker services. The legislators’ stance on online gambling is even more perplexing when you realize that every single form of land-based gambling is legal and available, other than sports betting and dog racing.
So, how can one play at casino sites while in Louisiana? One prominent approach players love to implement is the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), a special form of software that masks your IP address and makes it seem like you’re browsing from somewhere else.
Since there will be no physical evidence of you visiting that casino site from a Louisiana address, law enforcement won’t even know what you’re doing.
Keep in mind one thing – everything you’re doing is at your own personal risk. Online gambling is illegal in Louisiana and the police have every right to apprehend you if they deem fit. Just because they don’t enforce RS 14:90.3 all the time, that doesn’t mean they can’t.
What is the minimum age for playing at casino sites in Louisiana?
21. Louisiana has one of the strictest age limits for legal gambling, as they’re one of the only states to limit lottery to those that are 21 or older. Therefore, it’s pretty easy to assume the ‘safe age’ to play at online casinos.
Land-based venues and riverboat casinos are also limited to adults, which means that there is no doubt that online games of chance, theoretically, have the same limit. There’s a high chance that, if you’re an adult, the police won’t give you trouble for gambling online.
If you’re younger than 21, it’s possible that they won’t hesitate to treat the situation as a case of underage gambling.
Which games can I play at Louisiana online casinos?
Casino sites that are available in Louisiana, both offshore and US ones, usually offer all the popular games, from a large number of providers. As long as the online casino of your choice doesn’t outright ban Louisianan players, you can play anything you want.
Do I have access to live dealer games in Louisiana?
Yes, of course. Live dealer games are one of the most popular forms of casino gaming in recent years. They seek to recreate the land-based experience, but with added features that allow you to place bets from the comfort of your home. Just make sure the casino you’re playing at is licensed and has good reviews.
What payment options can I use at Louisiana casino sites?
Louisiana online casinos offer all the payment options you usually see at either sportsbooks or other sites. This means that the most common platforms are VISA, MasterCard, bank transfers, and eChecks. Not many people like them, as they’re forced to go through their bank in order to send/withdraw cash.
eWallets are much better, as you can finance them via your credit/debit card and never have your transactions monitored by your bank or another third-party institution. PayPal and Skrill are the most popular ones.
Louisianans also live cryptocurrencies, as they are completely anonymous and all transactions can’t be traced to you. Whether it’s Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Dash, you’ll get A+ security.
How fast do casino sites in Louisiana pay withdrawals?
The speed at which a casino pays its players depends on two things – the site’s own protocols and the payment method you’re using.
Some sites frequently request things like document scans or additional data, which may increase the pending period for your withdrawal. Inform yourself about such measures before registering at a site.
As for payment options in particular, here’s what you can expect:
• Bank transfer (2-7 days)
• Credit/debit card (3-5 days)
• PayPal, Skrill, and other eWallets (instant)
• Cryptocurrencies (15-60 mins)