Louisiana Poker Laws & Gambling Bills
Last Updated February 14, 2020
Down in Louisiana, poker is a part of everyday life. Over the last decade or so, online poker has also become a way of life, at least for some Louisiana residents. But while poker is a pretty simple game, moving that simple game online has complicated things for some players. Is it legal? Who regulates the sites that offer poker in Louisiana? What is the general attitude of the state toward gambling, and how might that impact online poker players? That and more are to follow in this article covering Online Poker in Louisiana.
Playing Poker Online in Louisiana
Nearly all online poker sites allowing US players accept new sign ups from the state of Louisiana. The few that don’t aren’t worth your time anyway. If you’ve run into a room in the past that didn’t let you play for real money because you were from Louisiana, you may have gotten the wrong idea and assumed all online poker sites were closed to Louisianans. The reality is that most of the major US-facing poker networks have no problems letting players from Louisiana make an account, deposit and play real-money USA poker.
|State Code Section(s)||4.141-278; 4.501-739; 14.90; 27|
|Definition of Gambling & Player||Gambling: 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. Gambling has long been recognized as a crime in the state of Louisiana and despite the enactment of many legalized gaming activities remains a crime.|
Gambling by computer: 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. Gambling which occurs via the Internet embodies the very activity that the legislature seeks to prevent.
|Online Poker/Gambling||A bill was introduced in the Louisiana legislature in 2018 to address the legalization of online poker and casino games. It would have allowed each parish in the state to vote on legalizing online gaming. The bill did not pass but will likely be discussed again in 2019.|
|Live Poker||There are poker rooms offering cash games and tournaments in most of the major riverboat and Native American casinos, as well as some of the racinos (race tracks with casino games).|
|Casinos||There are Indian-run casinos per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, riverboat-type casinos, and horse tracks converted into racinos. There are more than two dozen open in 2018.|
|Sports Betting||There is a bill under consideration in 2018 to legalize sports betting per the US Supreme Court decision to overturn PASPA.|
|DFS||A bill to legalize daily fantasy sports was bundled with other type of online gaming in 2018 and did not pass.|
|Other Forms of Gambling||Horse and dog racing, pari-mutuel betting, charitable gambling, lottery, bingo and keno, social gambling, slot machines at racetracks.|
If you’re ready to play online poker, it’s time to start focusing on what separates one room from another. Our top Louisiana online poker rooms are selected based on reliability, security, legality and value. While personal preference will always play a role, we suggest that players from Louisiana start their search with the rooms on our list below:
Latest Updates from Louisiana’s Online Poker Efforts
The first time that the Louisiana legislature considered an online gambling bill was in 2018. The state had been progressive in other forms of gambling, but it wasn’t until 2018 that many casinos made their voices heard to the legislature. They wanted online poker and casino games.
Several bills were introduced that year, one for online poker and casino games, another for daily fantasy sports, and one for sports betting. Essentially, the online gambling bill was written to provide the option for a “public referendum,” which meant that any parish could offer a referendum to its voters in an upcoming election. It would leave the decision to the public and regulation to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, if the referendum passed.
The sports betting bill was the only one that made it to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the spring of 2018, and that did not pass. All of the bills died later in 2018.
It seemed that most lawmakers in Louisiana were not familiar enough with internet gaming to properly advocate for the bill. There was also opposition from groups like the Louisiana Video Gaming Association, and their influence was too strong.
No online gambling bills – or even sports betting bills – were introduced in 2019. The future is unclear.
Is Online Poker Legal in Louisiana?
Louisiana law has much to say about gambling, but that doesn’t mean what it has to say is necessarily clear or obvious.
Louisiana law does not seem concerned with individual gamblers, Much (potentially all) of the law is directed at those who are in the business of illegal gambling – that is to say, those who run, promote and profit from the games in roles other than that of a mere player.
A few sections could apply to individual gamblers. For example, Section 14:90.5 makes underage gambling a crime. It’s also a crime (Section 14:90.2) to gamble in public. However, these are secondary offenses – it’s not the gambling itself that is illegal, it’s the manner in which the gambling is conducted.
Louisiana law does directly address online poker. Section 14:90.3, Gambling by Computer, forbids
“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.”
However, the law regarding online gambling – like the rest of Louisiana gambling law – has little to say about individual gamblers. Our reading of the statute reveals no references to individual players in the section directly covering online gambling (Section 14:90.3).
For a more complete picture of online poker in Louisiana and legislature, review the complete Louisiana statutes using the links at the bottom of this page . We urge readers not to treat this guide as legal advice – we aim only to highlight the specific parts of the law especially relevant to LA online poker players and not to provide a definitive answer on the legality of a particular act.
Will Louisiana Legalize Online Poker?
The bills proposed in 2018 gave reason for optimism, but the lack of follow-up from lawmakers in 2019 indicates that the state is not ready to offer their land-based casino options online. Louisiana is not even ready for sports betting in their casinos.
While online poker would enhance the state’s revenues, bring more players to their land-based casinos, and put Louisiana in line with other states using technology to improve gambling revenue, Louisiana seems content to stick with its current offerings.
LA Gambling Facts
It wasn’t long after LA became a state that regulated gambling was established within its boundaries. A mere ten years after achieving statehood, the state issued licenses to what were called “temples of chance ” – forerunners of the modern casino. Horse racing followed soon after, with the history of tracks in Louisiana stretching back all the way to the 1830s. Believe it or not, gambling was so ubiquitous in the state that, for a time, there was a street in New Orleans actually called “Craps,” after the dice game. That street has long since been rechristened Burgundy Street, and the rest of the Louisiana gambling landscape has shifted similarly over the years – although much, at least in spirit, remains the same.
Like Iowa, Louisiana offers all of the five major forms of regulated gambling to those in the state. In addition to the state lottery you’ll also have your pick from both commercial and tribal casinos, licensed charitable gambling and pari-mutuel wagering. That means poker players in Louisiana have plenty of legal, regulated choices for games right at home.
All Poker and Gambling Laws by State
- April 6th, 2018
It was surprising last month when news broke of an internet gambling bill under consideration in Louisiana. Most experts had not included this in the list of states most likely – or likely at all – to legalize online poker this year. In unsurprising news, however, the bill is notRead Full
- March 12th, 2018
Most southern parts of the United States aren’t known for their openness to gambling, much less expansions that put states in line with the latest industry advancements. But one Louisiana lawmaker wants to change that and push his state into the world of internet gaming. Recent History of Louisiana GamblingRead Full
- July 25th, 2016
U.S. District Judge Donald Walter sentenced Khang Nguyen Le to 30 months in prison for one count of wire fraud in the theft of $263,463, which Le was alleged to have gambled at a nearby casino. The big shock is that Khang Nguyen Le is a Buddhist monk from theRead Full
Famous Poker Players from Louisiana
The most famous poker player from Louisiana – and the one that ranks first in the state for live tournament earnings – is Brandon Adams. He got his start in the game via online poker before Black Friday and improved his game over time. He eventually played more live poker because of the diminished online poker options after Black Friday and still plays live tournaments occasionally.
Kevin Eyster and Keith Lehr are also well-known poker players, known for their successful poker accomplishments in the past decade.
As of 2020, these were the top-ranked poker players from Louisiana, according to the Hendon Mob database:
1. Brandon Adams ($5.1 million)
2. Kevin Eyster ($4.9 million)
3. Charles Keith Lehr ($3.6 million)
4. Fred Berger ($1.3 million)
5. Ryan Lenaghan ($1.1 million)
6. Caufman Talley III ($1.1 million)
7. Joshua Mancuso ($1 million)
8. Walter Chambers ($989K)
9. Corrie Wunstel ($926K)
10. Jared Ingles ($849K)
Sources & Citations For This Article on Louisiana Online Poker
- Louisiana Senate Bill 322
- Louisiana Gaming Control Board
- Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling
- Louisiana Office for Addictive Disorders
- Louisiana Revised Statutes: Gaming Regulations
- National Council on Problem Gambling (Louisiana)
- Official State Website
- Laws/Code of Louisiana
- Louisiana Legal Guide
- Louisiana Department of Justice – Gaming