You could say that there is a long and illustrious history of gambling in Louisiana. After all, French settlers built casino-style entertainment venues in the region even before they erected any churches.
Attempts have been made to outlaw gambling in its various guises for the past 200 years, but those have been largely rebuffed and bettors can still get their game on in the Bayou State.
The laws are less forgiving as they relate to online casinos in Louisiana, however. Online gambling is not only prohibited but also criminalized— those convicted for online gaming face hefty fines and even stints in prison.
Louisiana natives can place bets on horses, play slots and classic table games at licensed casinos, and enter lotteries and poker tournaments, but they may not do any of this via the internet.
So while Louisiana online gambling may be some way off, the land-based betting industry has largely enjoyed relaxed conditions—dating back nearly 300 years in this corner of the United States.
In present times, Louisianna is now taking another major step. Lawmakers have increasingly stressed the need for sports betting to stay competitive with neighboring states, and multiple bills to potentialy expand sports betting as well as online gaming are expected to be debated in Baton Rouge in 2019.
Under Louisiana revised statute § 14:90.3, online gambling in the state is specifically and explicitly prohibited:
"Gambling by computer is 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…"
There actually aren’t many states that have made an addendum to their existing gambling laws to clearly outlaw internet betting in such a way, so realistically the prospect of Louisiana online casinos operating with complete freedom appears to be a ways off.
Games of "social" poker might not be legal, technically, but law enforcement in Louisiana does not crack down on cases like those in many neighboring states do. You can play video poker in bars and licensed casinos.
As you've probably guessed by now, online poker in Louisiana does not exist legally, primarily because operators aren’t willing to risk falling foul of the authorities and their stringent penalties. Until there is an overall change in sentiment toward internet betting, Louisiana online poker will have to remain on the back burner.
For now, the only sports betting is in Louisiana is on horses and takes place at licensed premises known as "racinos," although there have been some hints at a change for more sports like basketball and football.
A bill was proposed during the 2018 legislative session that would have extended the scope of racinos to include sports betting, and while that was not approved during the same legislative session, there is hope that 2019 could be the year that Louisiana sports betting finally gets the go ahead.