Online Poker and Gambling Laws in Louisiana
2021 Update: Is Online Poker Legal in Louisiana?
You can go wild in Mardi Gras, but Louisiana still hasn’t regulated online poker. There has been some discussion about legislating online betting, and there’s been some recent movement on sports betting in the state. On May 27, 2020 the Louisiana House approved a sports betting bill by an overwhelming 71-24 vote majority. The bill differs from most states since it isn’t a blanket legalization and doesn’t set any ground rules. It actually allows different areas of the state to vote on whether they should allow sports betting. It’ll be up to voters who’ll decide in November.
The previous attempts at legislating sports betting failed. A 2018 bill didn’t make it out of the committee and a 2019 bill failed to pass. The new bill is a big step in the right direction and more states are looking at expanding their revenue sources due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. John Bel Edwards has shown interest in allowing sports betting. While they still haven’t taken up online poker, sports betting legislation is always a good indicator that a state might be willing to take up more gaming legislation.
Poker and Gambling Laws in Louisiana
Louisiana is home to plenty of riverboat casinos and great card rooms in New Orleans. These legal forms of gambling — as well as illegal ones– are covered in the Louisiana State Statute . The most essential element when it comes to gambling legalese is to define what gambling actually is. Each state defines it slightly differently and Louisiana defines it in Sec. 14.90 of the State Statute. It defines gambling as:
“Intentional conducting a game or contest in which a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit.”
This is pretty different from most states’ definitions because it doesn’t use the word “chance” at all. Most states use this to differentiate games that you can or can’t wager on, but in Louisiana’s case we see that any wagering on any “game or contest” constitutes gambling in the state. It’s safe to say that this includes poker, regardless if it’s defined as a game of skill or chance. If you’re wondering, it has been deemed to be a game of skill by a federal judge .
Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in Louisiana?
Nope, you’re going to have to take your online beads somewhere else. You can’t play PokerStars in Louisiana just yet. PokerStars was forced out of the United States after the infamous Black Friday in 2011. It was forced to pay some fines and it’s slowly been coming back to the United States.
Like online poker legalization, this is being done on a state-by-state basis. Out of the state’s that have legalized online poker, only two have given PokerStars a license. New Jersey was the first state to let the site back in and then Pennsylvania followed in 2019. The sites have segregated player pools though, so don’t expect the large Sunday Millions from yesteryear.
But there are sites that accept players from all 50 sites and have proven to be good PokerStars alternatives for poker players in Louisiana. Sites like Bovada, BetOnline and Ignition Poker take players from all across the country and have great player pools, a wide selection of cash games and great rakeback deals. For more information check out our full reviews below:
Is There Legal Gambling in Louisiana?
Yes there is. Just take a stroll through New Orleans and check out all the casinos around to play it. Aside from Nevada, Louisiana is the only other state to have legal casinos around the state . You’ll find a casino in pretty much every major city in the state. Aside from those casinos, Louisiana also has Native American casinos throughout the state.
Louisiana also has a long history of pari-mutuel and race track betting. Pari-mutuel betting on horse races has been around in New Orleans since the 1920s. Currently, there are four tracks in the states. The Fair Grounds, Evangeline Downs, Delta Downs and Louisiana Downs.
There’s also charitable gaming and a lottery in Louisiana . The lottery was founded in 1991 and has grown every year since. In 2019 the lottery topped $450 million in revenue with $168 million going to the state’s K-12 public education fund.
Louisiana is one of the most gambling-friendly states in America. We’ll keep a close eye to see if online poker is next.
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