Nicknamed “Las Vegas South,” Louisiana has always had a favorable relationship with gambling. This sets it apart from many other states in the South. The number and size of legal land-based gambling venues show that this state has a long history and tradition related to this type of entertainment. On top of that, the Pelican State is working on legalizing sports betting — daily fantasy sports, to be precise. Horse racing has been legal the longest.
The close ties between gambling and Louisiana go back a long way. They stem from the fact that cabarets and billiard halls were part of the New Orleans culture even before the first church was built. Gambling was outlawed at one point in the 18th century. But, Gov. Louis Billouart de Kerlérec made it legal once again and even opened the first state-run casino in 1753.
At the start of the 19th century, Louisiana had more gambling venues than Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York combined. Yet, that soon changed as gambling was made illegal once again in 1813. Throughout the 19th century, gambling laws often changed and were always rather extreme. All gambling operations were either entirely banned or entirely legal.
Gambling was finally regulated in the 20th century, although it was a long and tedious process. Pari-mutuel betting has been the only legalized form of betting since 1920, and that’s why Louisiana has a long horse racing tradition.
The state experienced a series of financial crises during the second half of the 20th century. Edwin Edwards, who was the Governor back in the 80s, started to promote the expansion of legalized gambling.
Nowadays, there are dozens of available land-based and riverboat casinos, many of which allow betting on horse races. There are also several tribal casinos.
Another form of gambling arrived during the 90s — iGaming. It brought a series of legal complications, and Louisiana seems to be dealing with those pretty slowly. Let’s check out the legal status of online casinos and other gambling platforms in the Pelican State.
Although the state has made significant progress by legalizing land-based casinos, online gambling is still illegal. Like many other American states (and countries around the globe), Louisiana prohibits operators from running gambling-related businesses online. Breaking this law could result in huge fines and even imprisonment.
Back in the 90s, the legislators came up with an act that prohibited “gambling by computer.” Simply put, it made any kind of gambling that takes place via a computing device illegal. No resident of Louisiana was to offer online gambling services of any kind. This included operating, designing, developing, and maintaining casino software on the web.
The only form of legal gambling on the web is pari-mutuel wagering on greyhound and horse racing.
That said, gamblers from Louisiana still have a valid option to play many other games online — by using offshore casinos. These platforms are licensed and regulated by official regulatory bodies outside Louisiana.
The average player should not worry about prosecution if they join an offshore casino, sportsbook, or any other gambling platform. There are no recorded arrests in Louisiana for taking part in online gambling in offshore casinos.
The “gambling by computer” statute does forbid this type of activity, but its main purpose is to protect the residents of Louisiana from the harm of gambling. So, make sure to choose platforms that are trustworthy, fair, and secure if you’re going to take part in online gaming.
The real question here is this — do the lawmakers in Louisiana plan to legalize online gambling in any form? When it comes to online casinos, it seems that the legislators do not show significant efforts to change the status quo and make the first step toward legalization.
The only thing that the lawmakers are currently working on is daily fantasy sports. This activity is prevalent among the residents of Louisiana, and DFS is most likely to be legalized shortly.
Online casinos and sportsbooks remain illegal for now. The only option that Louisiana residents have is to join an offshore gambling site.
Despite the absence of online casinos, players from Louisiana still have a lot to choose from. Many land-based casinos operate within the boundaries of the state. Some of the properties have a long history and tradition and are even considered iconic. These venues attract hundreds of players daily, who take part in various games and activities, including slots, table games, betting, and more.
Let’s take a short overview of land-based and riverboat casinos available in the Pelican State. Although there are dozens of venues to choose from, we decided to narrow the list to the ten most popular casinos in Louisiana.
|Harrah’s New Orleans||New Orleans||Land-based|
|Coushatta Casino Resort||Kinder||Native American|
|Cypress Bayou Casino||Charenton||Native American|
|Jena Choctaw Pines Casino||Dry Prong||Native American|
|Paragon Casino Resort||Marksville||Native American|
|Fair Grounds Race Course||New Orleans||Racino|
|Harrah’s Louisiana Downs||Bossier City||Racino|
|Belle of Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||Riverboat|
|Boomtown Bossier City||Bossier City||Riverboat|
|Boomtown New Orleans||Harvey||Riverboat|
|Golden Nugget Lake Charles||Lake Charles||Riverboat|
|Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||Riverboat|
|Horseshoe Bossier City||Bossier City||Riverboat|
|Isle of Capri Casino Lake Charles||Westlake||Riverboat|
|L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles||Lake Charles||Riverboat|
|L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge||Baton Rouge||Riverboat|
|Margaritaville Resort Casino||Bossier City||Riverboat|
|Sam’s Town Shreveport||Shreveport||Riverboat|
|Treasure Chest Casino||Kenner||Riverboat|
Please keep in mind that this list reflects our opinion at the time of writing this guide. Casinos often change their names. Some casinos close and new ones open.
Unfortunately, the lawmakers from Louisiana made it clear that no online gambling activities are allowed in the state, apart from pari-mutuel wagers on horses and greyhounds. However, the Pelican State residents still have the option of gambling online on offshore gambling platforms.
The minimum legal gambling age varies depending on the type of game you want to take part in. Bingo and horse racing bets are available to all bettors who are at least 18 years of age. However, if you’re going to take part in the state lottery or enter a casino, you need to be at least 21.
There are many offshore casinos out there, some of which operate without a license. We strongly advise you to avoid such platforms. There are several reputable foreign gambling regulators out there, and you should stick to the platforms licensed by them. That way, you can rest assured that you are playing on a safe, fair, and trustworthy platform.
Online daily fantasy sports are still illegal in Louisiana, but that’s the only type of gambling the legislators want to legalize. There are many DFS fans in the Pelican State, and legalizing this activity on the web would be a good start for the online casino industry in Louisiana.
Even though most states have legalized sports betting, Louisiana remains one of the states where it’s still illegal. There are no signs that the lawmakers are going to legalize it soon. However, bettors can access offshore sports betting platforms from Louisiana to bet on their favorite sports.