If you are at all familiar with the cultural regions of the United States, you are likely well-aware of the fact that states in the south, especially in the deep south, are some of the more conservative. Though the term “conservative” can mean a lot of different things, one thing it almost always means is that there is a no-tolerance policy when it comes to casino gambling. If you take a look at Kentucky, for instance, you will see that their overarching conservative views have prevented casino-style gambling from existing for as long as the state has.
At first glance, you might think Louisiana is similar to Kentucky, but the fact of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth. There are plenty of casinos in the State of Louisiana. This is great because, unlike other states, you will not only find casinos in the big population centers. All corners of the state have accessible gambling options, and this page is going to tell you a little bit more about them and how they came to be.
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Gambling in Louisiana
Louisiana is one of the few states that offer all the popular forms of land-based gambling. Both tribal and commercial casinos are available. Charitable gambling and pari-mutuel wagering are also fairly popular and the state operates its own lottery.
It’s worth pointing out that Louisiana has real money gaming traditions that date back to 19th century and is famous for its riverboat casinos, which are allowed to offer both slots and classic table games. Unfortunately, Louisiana hasn’t introduced any iGaming-friendly regulations so far, so offshore sites are the only online option available to the local gambling enthusiasts.
To briefly summarize the relationship between Louisiana and casino gambling, the state had casinos before it had churches. It is currently home to around 60 casinos. All the standard table games such as Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette are legal. Some of the most popular Louisiana venues include:
- Golden Nugget Casino
- Margaritaville Resort Casino
- Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
- The Horseshoe Casino
- L’Auberge Casino & Hotel
Louisiana is also well known for its excellent casino boats, which include:
- The Amelia Belle docked in Amelia
- The Isle of Capri Casino Lake Charles docked in Westlake
- The Treasure Chest Casino docked in Kenner
- The Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge docked in Baton
Establishments that hold a liquor license may legally own and operate up to three video poker machines, but players must be over the age of 21 to use them.
Unfortunately for players looking to play in online casinos, Louisiana heavily enforces its anti-online gambling laws. However, with such a high number of casinos spread throughout the state, finding a location near you should not be difficult.
Players may own and operate antique slot machines in their home as long as they are older than 25 years and do not generate a profit.
Louisiana Tribal/Native American Casinos
Tribal, or Native American, casinos are those that are owned and operated by Native American tribes and are most often located on land owned by those tribes. Thanks to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, Native Americans are allowed to own and operate casinos so long as they come to an agreement to be able to do so with the state in which they are located.
In Louisiana, it took a few years, but in the early 1990s tribes were able to come to an agreement with the state and soon thereafter the first tribal casinos opened. At these casinos, anything from slots to table games, and just about everything in between, is able to be played.
As their name implies, riverboat casinos are those located on boats that are situated on a body of water. In Louisiana, you will find that most riverboat casinos are located on the Eastern side of the state on the Mississippi or close to some of the many lakes throughout the state. Even though they are referred to as riverboat casinos, many of them exist on lakes.
A recurring theme is that the type of casinos are often self-explanatory, and land-based casinos offer no exception. As their name implies, they are casinos that exist on land somewhere in the state of Louisiana. They are like tribal and riverboat casinos in that any and every type of casino game can be played there, but are unlike tribal casinos in that there is not necessarily any special ownership involved.
Louisiana Sportsbook & Sports Betting
In 2018, Louisiana Representative Danny Martiny introduced Senate Bill 266. Had it passed, SB 226 would have authorized a statewide referendum vote on the legalization of sports wagering. The bill did not pass the Senate Finance Committee by a vote of 3-to-6 and is still currently pending approval. It was last considered in April of 2018, and the next date for a ruling on it has not been set.
With the recent legalization of sports gambling on the federal level by the US Supreme Court, many of Louisiana’s conservative parties’ main concerns about conflicting state-level gambling laws have been resolved. There are talks of narrowing the number of casinos where sports gambling would be available, which would increase the chances of SB 266 (or a similar bill) successfully passing. There is a high chance of sports gaming legalization in 2019.
eSports and fantasy gambling
The state of Louisiana doesn’t differentiate between electronic sports (eSports) gambling and traditional sports gambling. As of today, eSports gambling is illegal within Louisiana.
Louisiana legalized fantasy sports gambling in 2018. House Bill 484 authorized fantasy sports betting on the grounds that it’s a game of skill – not chance. Players located in this state can access popular fantasy gaming operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
Animal racing wagers can be placed on any licensed racetrack. Louisiana also allows interstate and international pari-mutuel betting at simulcast locations.
There are currently five racetracks operating in Louisiana:
- Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, one of the highest-quality thoroughbred courses in the nation, located in Bossier City.
- Jefferson Downs located in Kenner.
- The Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino Hotel located in Vinton.
- Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino located in Opelousas.
- The Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots located in New Orleans.
Gambling on dog races is banned in Louisiana.
Playing Poker in Louisiana
Most Louisiana casinos offer live poker tables. Popular poker hotspots include:
- Horseshoe Poker Room – 14 poker tables.
- The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Poker Room – 12 poker tables.
- Isle Poker Room – 8 poker tables.
- Boomtown Poker Room – 7 poker tables.
- Golden Nugget Lake Charles Poker Room – 6 poker tables.
Players may also host low stakes games and tournaments within their private residence as long as they are not generating a profit.
Online casinos that offer poker games are explicitly banned in Louisiana.
The modern Louisiana State Lottery was founded in 1991 by the Louisiana Lottery Corporation. There are two multi-state lottery games available:
- Mega Millions
The Louisiana State Lottery offers:
- Pick 3, 4, and 5
- Louisiana Lotto Cash
Prize winners get to take home at least half of the lottery pot, while a minimum of 35% of the earnings goes to the state in the form of taxes. The remaining amount returns to the lottery’s operators. $500,000 in lottery winnings is donated each year to the Compulsive and Problem Gaming Fund to help those suffering from gambling addiction.
Players must be over the age of 21 to purchase a lottery ticket. Winnings must be claimed within 180 days.
Louisiana charitable gaming and bingo laws state that any organization may host a charity gaming event as long as all profits go to a charity recognized by the state. Each county has its own municipal laws and rulings on Bingo, but none of them ban it.
Some of the largest Bingo locations include:
- Cottons Corner Bingo located in Vinton.
- The Bingo Center located in West Monroe.
- Azalea Hall located in Marrero.
Louisiana Gambling History
Being predominately inhabited by French settlers prior to being set aside and established as a US state, Louisiana was home to hundreds upon hundreds of private gaming establishments. Though the earliest of these sites do not even come close to matching the glamour of today’s modern casinos, they did have just as much, if not more, action. After some time, however, things in Louisiana and the rest of the Southern United States began to get a little bit shaky as far as gambling was concerned.
By the mid 19th century, lotteries were all the rage in places like Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, and almost every other Southern state. Unfortunately, it did not take very long for many of these lotteries to grow incredibly illicit. In fact, the problem became so big that lotteries were outlawed in the state of Louisiana altogether by the turn of the 20th century.
For almost the entirety of the 1900s, the only type of gambling you were able to find in Louisiana was of the pari-mutuel variety, which involves horse and dog race betting. This remained the case until 1991, when state lawmakers created gambling licenses for 15 riverboat casinos. These new gambling sites were an immediate hit and were said to have given a boost to the Louisiana tourism industry when it needed it most.
Realizing the quick success of the riverboat establishments, it took only a few years for lawmakers to move to grant licenses to a handful of land-based casinos and then, shortly thereafter, tribal casinos as well. Nowadays, Louisiana exists as a bit of a gambling mecca that not many people are entirely aware of. This is likely due to the fact that people think of the South as being entirely restrictive when it comes to casino gambling. Because of the extreme success of many of the state’s casinos, experts theorize that Louisiana is soon going to see even more brick and mortar casinos be established across all areas of the state.