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Louisiana Online Poker - how & where to legally play for real $$$

Louisiana Online Cardrooms

Can I play online poker in Louisiana? The answer is yes!

Is it legal to play online poker in Louisiana? The answer to this is also yes!


What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in Louisiana? Playing online poker in Louisiana legally might seem like a foregone conclusion considering that New Orleans is one of the largest party destinations in the United States, and there are half a dozen cities in the state with large casino resorts. However, the laws that pertain to Louisiana online poker are less than favorable on the surface. But luckily, they are toothless laws, which were put on the books over two decades ago and have never been enforced against a citizen, not even once!

The outdated laws that might deter one from enjoying an online game found their way onto the books back when the cities of Lake Charles and Shreveport were bringing riverboat gambling to their respective cities. A law, §90.3, was passed prohibiting "gambling by computer" in the 1990s. This law appears to target the operators of online gambling websites and not individual gamblers. Moreover, not a single person has ever been indicted or prosecuted for playing poker in the state (or anywhere else in the United States for that matter). The law itself imposes a fairly small penalty, a $500 fine, if in some bizarro universe the state ever went after an individual.

In fact, a search through the Louisiana gambling laws yields only five mentions of the word "poker" at all. Every single one of them is preceded by the word "video." The laws regarding video poker are serious business. Video poker is big money in Louisiana and can be found at thousands of bars, diners, truck stops, etc. However, video poker and online poker are two completely different things and the video poker laws do not apply to Internet poker. The state of LA has ignored Internet poker, much like the overwhelming majority of other states.

Offshore poker sites, for the most part, have thus decided to allow Louisiana residents to play online poker freely on their websites. Louisianians have a rather large selection of sites with solid bonuses available to them. Keep reading below for a full list of poker sites that accept players from the state of Louisiana and what they have to offer.

What Online Poker Sites Can I Play in Louisiana?

The venues for online poker in Louisiana range in quality from the upstanding and honest to the unscrupulous and disreputable. We fully realize that it can be challenging to differentiate between the two groups, which is why we've gone ahead and done this chore for you. We've taken a look at software, dealing procedures and certifications, promotions, and payout speeds to bring to you a list of the top Louisiana online poker sites. You'll be treated right no matter which of the below poker operators you trust with your cash.



150% up to $1,500
4.5 / 5



Ignition Poker is the number one site for Louisianians as far as number of players and tables goes. Game quality is excellent across the entire range of stakes, up to $10/$20, in NL Hold'em, PL Omaha, and PL Omaha Hi-Lo. There's also fast-fold Zone Poker, Limit Hold'em, sit n' gos, and lottery-style Jackpot SNG to sample. Don't forget about the tournaments here, which include a weekly $150,000 guarantee as well as recurring series that pay out millions of dollars in prizes.

You can download Ignition Poker for PC or Mac or access the web client to play from your smart device. Crypto users get a 150% up to $1,500 poker bonus and a matching bonus for casino games (non-crypto deposits only qualify for 100% up to $1,000 for both bonuses).



100% up to $1,000
4.4 / 5



SB Poker offers games up to $5/$10 in PLO, PLO/8, and NLHE. This is one of the few places for Louisiana's citizens to sample 6+ or Short Deck Hold'em. Certain Hold'em tables here feature a Bad Beat Jackpot that has sometimes exceeded $1 million. Other formats include Boost fast-fold pools, Windfall lottery games, sit n' gos, and tournaments like the Sunday Main Event, which comes with a guarantee of $60,000. Weekly leaderboards provide extra money to cash gamers and SNG players.

Sportsbetting lets you play on Mac or Windows with its download applications, and there's also support for Android and iOS devices. Upon making your initial deposit, you'll be rewarded with a 100% up to $1,000 poker bonus and several other deals for sports and casino betting.



100% up to $1,000
4.3 / 5



BetOnline is a sister site of SB Poker, with both sites operating as members of the Chico Poker Network. BoL has been operating a bit longer, so you might trust it slightly more due to its longevity in the industry. BetOnline is well respected for the quality of its mobile poker application, which runs on both iOS and Android devices. You can access the full plethora of games on offer from any smartphone or tablet, and you can play on multiple tables simultaneously.

Players who prefer to play from a laptop or desktop device will be pleased as well, as BoL offers downloads for both Windows and Mac systems. All new players are eligible for a poker bonus worth 100% of your first deposit up to $1,000. Visit the attached casino and sportsbook to take advantage of additional promotional offers.



100% up to $500
4.2 / 5



Bovada is a sister site of Ignition, so it has the same poker tables and tournaments. However, you can bet on sports and horse races at Bovada, which is not possible at Ignition. Besides the standard fare that you would expect, like MLB, NFL, NCAA, and NBA matches, you can also put your money down on eSports, tennis, political elections, and many other events.

Bovada's poker client comes in versions compatible with Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and other popular OSes. New depositors get a 100% up to $500 poker bonus along with thousands of dollars of extra money to use in the sportsbook and casino.



100% up to $2,000
4.1 / 5



Americas Cardroom is your top destination if you like big tournaments because it has a weekly $200,000 guaranteed Sunday Special, a $5 million Venom event a couple of times per year, and frequent series that award eight figures in prize money. ACR also spreads Hold'em, Omaha, and Omaha/8 cash games with blinds as high as $50/$100. A full complement of sit-n-gos, Jackpots, and fast-fold Blitz games rounds out the selection. Compete in The Beast and Sit & Crush leaderboards for free money every week.

You can download ACR for your PC or Mac, and there's a limited mobile client too. Use our exclusive ACR promo code PRB10FREE for a $10 no deposit bonus, then fund your account and get a 100% up to $2,000 welcome bonus.



100% up to $700
4.0 / 5



CoinPoker makes it simple to deposit and withdraw utilizing cryptocurrency, including Tether, Bitcoin, and Ethereum. All poker play is denominated in Tether (UDST). CoinPoker is the largest crypto-exclusive poker site available and it is growing rapidly. Weekly leaderboards will award cash game and tournament grinders with free Tether.

The CoinPoker software operates on Macs, PCs, Androids, and iOS devices. Three valuable deposit bonuses are on offer here for new players including a 100% bonus worth up to $700 and an additional two 100% match bonuses worth $300 and $100 each. Players can also receive 33% rakeback weekly if a balance of CHP is held. CHP is CoinPoker's unique crypto token.



100% up to 25mBTC
3.7 / 5



Nitrobetting Poker offers numerous cash game formats including NL Texas Hold'em, Limit Hold'em, and PL Omaha. It runs in a web application that functions on pretty much any browser, so Nitrobetting is compatible with almost any modern device. Nitrobetting transacts exclusively with Bitcoin, and payouts often take only a couple of hours.

Nitrobetting Poker offers a welcome bonus equivalent to 100% of your first deposit up to 25mBTC. The Nitro rewards program also pays out Bitcoin credits and free sports bets based upon your volume of play.



3.6 / 5



SwCPoker is an offshoot of an original BTC poker room known as Seals With Clubs, which was known for its high number of poker variants supported. You can play all of the standard formats like NL Hold'em and PL Omaha in addition to numerous niche variants like Open Face Chinese, Razz, and mixed games. If you aren't familiar with the variants offered, you can play in numerous freerolls to get started and learn the games.

The SwCPoker software works well on any PC, Mac, Android, or iOS device. No initial deposit bonus is available here, but you can receive up to 50% rakeback on your poker play through the Krill rewards program.


How to Choose the Best Louisiana Poker Site For Your Style of Play

All of the poker operations we've just gone over are excellent arenas for online cards, and we can't really name any single one as the best. This is because they all have their own particular strengths and drawbacks. The best site for you may not be the same as it is for your neighbor. You'll have to take a look at the characteristics of each room and attempt to gauge how well they will satisfy your needs. Although it's impossible for us to tell you exactly where to play, we do have a list of factors that may merit your close consideration:

° If you are most concerned about player volume, then Ignition, Bovada, and Americas Cardroom are the three most heavily trafficked sites for U.S. online poker.

° If you're keen on scoring a large first deposit bonus, then Ignition has a 150% up to $1,500 bonus as long as you deposit with Bitcoin. Americas Cardroom offers 100% up to $2,000.

° If you like to bet on sports and casino games every once in a while then SB Poker, Bovada, BetOnline, and Nitrobetting are first-rate organizations.

° If playing from a Mac or mobile appeals to you, then SB Poker, Ignition, BetOnline, Nitrobetting, and Bovada support the cross-platform gaming you seek.

° If you intend to set up a rakeback account, then CoinPoker's 33% offer may intrigue you.

° If you think that ongoing rewards are desirable, then Americas Cardroom's Elite Benefits or Nitrobetting's Nitro Rewards might be the answer.

° If you seek massive tournaments, then you'll encounter plenty of them at Americas Cardroom, Ignition, and Bovada.

How Do I Receive Withdrawals and Payouts?

Coins and Dollar Bills

As you accumulate winnings at the tables, the time will come when you're looking to cash some of your money out. You can do so via check from any of the rooms that we work with. At some of them, additional withdrawal processors, like debit cards and money transfer services, may be available. We highly advise you to conduct your poker banking in the digital crypto-currency Bitcoin. All of the sites we recommend support it, and it lets you bypass many of the fees and delays that sometimes come with other payment methods. If you're a Bitcoin beginner, then we've put together a guide to Bitcoin and online poker that you'll probably find informative.

Alternatives to Registering Your Account in the State of Louisiana

Louisiana and Nearby States

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have another address in a nearby state, be it your business address, summer home, second apartment, family home, etc. If so, then you may have other online poker options available to you. Here is a list of the states that border Louisiana and Professional Rakeback's review on each of them: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Perhaps you are the more adventurous type and have decided that your secondary property is far removed from the sweltering and sticky sub-tropical Louisiana summers. Fear not, you aren't out of luck. We have an article that provides information on all 50 states and their real money online poker site options.

If you have found this information helpful to you, please consider sharing it with your friends and family. Unfortunately, many people are ignorant of their ability to still play poker on the Internet. Let us grow our favorite pastime together by disseminating knowledge!

Facts About Louisiana Poker Industry

This section will aim to provide accurate information regarding the legality of gambling and poker, current and future state regulation, live gambling venues, and the history of gambling to take place throughout the state of Louisiana.

The Legality of Online Poker in Louisiana

Law Reference Book

Louisiana is known to be strict when it comes to unauthorized gambling for real money, and furthermore, it's one of the few states that has provisions specifically dealing with online gambling. Therefore, you might expect it to be one of the most unfriendly jurisdictions for online poker players in America. However, Louisiana's reputation in this respect has been unjustly earned. When we look closely at the LA statutes in effect against gaming, we see that it's among the most permissive states from the individual player's perspective.

Without further ado, let's jump into the Louisiana laws that might pertain to poker. The main one is Title 14 - Criminal Law - §90 - Gambling. It reads in part:

A.(1)(a) Gambling 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.

(b) Whoever commits the crime of gambling shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

The wording used here to describe the prohibited activities, “risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit,” is different from what's found in most states. It seems to be designed to include many types of pastimes, including poker.

The key phrasing for our purposes, however, is “as a business.” It's clear that this is meant to penalize people in the gambling industry, not ordinary players. The rest of §90 increases the punishments for higher-ups in illegal gambling operations and exempts those games run in accordance with other sections of the Louisiana code, like pari-mutuel wagering, riverboat casino offerings, and charitable gaming.

Moving on to the portion of the law that addresses online gambling (§90.3), we find a voluminous introduction to the relevant passages that endeavors to explain the legislature's adoption of the law. This preamble runs in excess of 350 words. It's full of the kind of mealy-mouthed, self-serving justifications that we would expect to find. Here are some excerpts for your amusement:

The Legislature…desiring to protect individual rights, while at the same time… promoting the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people, including the children of this state who are our most precious and valuable resource…protecting its citizens and children from…irreparable harm…develop a controlled well-regulated gaming industry…protecting and assisting its citizens who suffer from compulsive or problem gaming…The legislature recognizes and encourages the beneficial effects…use of the Internet resources have had on the children…by expanding their educational horizons. ..responsibility to protect its citizens, and in particular its youngest citizens, from the pervasive nature of gambling… Gambling has long been recognized as a crime…Gambling which occurs via the Internet embodies the very activity that the legislature seeks to prevent...balanced its interest in protecting the citizens of this state with the protection afforded by the First Amendment…

The actual meat of this law states:

B. 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, World Wide Web, or any part thereof by way of any computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, or any server…

D. Whoever commits the crime of gambling by computer shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

We have omitted a list of definitions of commonsense terms, like computer and internet, which we trust our readers are already familiar with. The key takeaway from this law is the same as in the general law against gambling: the use of the words “as a business.” Again, the legislators wish to target those running the games rather than everyday citizens who like to place bets online every now and then.

There are worse sanctions in store for those who fulfill specified roles in connection with internet gambling, like making web pages, managing a computer network for a gaming firm, and providing computer services for entities violating the law. ISPs and programmers who conduct their business as usual are exempt from these clauses notwithstanding that their customers, on their own initiative, may be contravening the law.

As is evident from examining the Louisiana rules against gambling and gambling by computer, there's nothing here to concern you if you engage in poker playing through the internet. It's only those managing, backing, owning, or maintaining a financial interest in the games who might get in trouble. It's perfectly legal in Louisiana for you to play online poker to your heart's content.

That said, there are a couple of other measures on the books that could affect you. The first is the prohibition on public gambling, contained in §90.2:

A. Gambling in public is the aiding or abetting or participation in any game, contest, lottery, or contrivance, in any location or place open to the view of the public or the people at large, such as streets, highways, vacant lots, neutral grounds, alleyway, sidewalk, park, beach, parking lot, or condemned structures whereby a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit.

B. This Section shall not prohibit activities authorized under the Charitable Raffles, Bingo and Keno Licensing Law,1 nor shall it apply to bona fide fairs and festivals conducted for charitable purposes.

C. Whoever commits the crime of gambling in public shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

Keep your online card games confined to your private computer in your own home, or else you could theoretically run the risk of a fine of up to $500 and/or a sentence of six months' imprisonment. We've never heard of anyone ever being arrested for committing this “crime,” as it relates to online poker, but still, this is a law that's on the books, and so it's better to be safe than sorry. Don't tempt fate by engaging in internet wagering in public.

The other statute that could possibly affect poker players is the vagrancy law, §90.107. It defines several groups of people that could be found guilty of vagrancy and subject to a fine not exceeding $200 and/or jail time of up to six months. One of them is “Habitual gamblers or persons who for the most part maintain themselves by gambling.”

This law has come under fire for being extremely vague, and some legal observers feel that it's unconstitutional because it criminalizes economic or social status rather than specific actions. Anyway, we've never heard of anyone ever being prosecuted under the anti-gambler provisions of Louisiana state vagrancy law. The text in question was last amended in 1968, so there's no reason to think that the lawmakers intended to cover online wagering because the internet hadn't been invented yet. Furthermore, there's no way for the authorities to know if you gamble “habitually” or if it's your principal means of supporting yourself.

After examining the legal framework in the Bayou State, we conclude that the officials of Louisiana have no serious intention of going after regular online poker enthusiasts unless they game in public or somehow make a nuisance of themselves. It's a different story for those in the business of accepting bets via the internet.

In September 2006, the chairman of online gambling firm Sportingbet, Peter Dicks, was arrested in New York because of an outstanding warrant against him in Louisiana for charges related to illegal internet gambling. Dicks resigned from his post. However, New York refused to extradite him to Louisiana because the crimes of which he was accused were not contrary to NY law, as explained by Governor George Pataki, and Dicks wasn't accused of breaking any laws from within the borders of Louisiana.

Several months later, Sportingbet was able to pay about $400,000 to Louisiana law enforcement and governmental agencies, and the entire matter was quietly dropped. Peter Dicks returned to the company.

What made this case unusual was that the arrest warrant from Louisiana was sealed, and neither Dicks nor any of the other principals at Sportingbet knew about it until he was detained. According to The Guardian, “Louisiana is said to have sealed warrants against more than 50 executives and at least a dozen online firms.”

This was more than a decade ago, so it's anybody's guess as to how many of these warrants still remain active, but some gambling entities have opted not to take any unnecessary chances. Thus, there are a few online poker operations that refuse to accept Louisianians as customers.

Nevertheless, the majority of them are happy to cater to players from the state. Perhaps they feel as though the Peter Dicks incident was an isolated occurrence, and as long as their key officers refrain from setting foot in the United States, they won't have any legal trouble. In any event, the major gambling enterprises have solicited the counsel of trained attorneys who have undoubtedly advised them that the risks inherent in taking real money action from Louisiana are small.

Land-Based Gambling

Harrahs Casino New Orleans Logo

Louisiana is home to all types of gambling including charitable gaming, a state lottery, tribal and non-tribal casinos, and pari-mutuel betting. Pari-mutuel wagering is confined to horses because dog racing is illegal, but there are off-track facilities available to put money down without having to go to the races in person. The charitable gambling scene is especially robust with keno, bingo, raffles, pull-tabs, and casino nights allowed to qualifying organizations.

The commercial casinos are divided into three kinds: riverboats, which are allowed to be permanently docked, racinos that provide pari-mutuel and slot-machine gaming, and a single land-based casino. This vast selection of gambling options puts Louisiana in a surprisingly strong position for individuals looking to place wagers at brick-and-mortar locations. The largest collection of casinos is in and around the New Orleans area but are not limited to just this section of the state.

None of the cardrooms is especially large, but there are a dozen of them dotted around the state. Pokerists in the Big Easy will probably find Harrah's New Orleans and its 20 poker tables to their liking as a number of WSOP events are held there each year. Coushatta Casino, L'Auberge du Lac Resort, and the Golden Nugget are in the Lake Charles area and each of these similarly sized destinations for live poker run low-stakes to mid-stakes NL Hold'em, Limit Hold'em, and pot-limit Omaha cash games around the clock as well as having several small buy-in tournaments per week.

L'Auberge du Lac was once a frequent destination for poker great Sam Farha who would play in the high-stakes pot-limit Omaha games with blinds of up to $100/$200. That is of course until the game broke up due to the FBI arrest and seizure of 5.7 million in property from a local whale / alleged bookie.

Other hot spots for land-based gambling can be found in Shreveport and Baton Rouge, which have casino-resorts and/or riverboat gambling establishments. They offer every conceivable table game known to man, including live poker games.

State Regulation

Document Pages

As one of the few states in the U.S.A. that has laws that positively criminalize operating an online gambling enterprise within the state's borders, Louisiana seems like an unlikely candidate for licensing internet poker. Yet, there are a few reasons to believe that the political climate isn't totally opposed to the idea. First of all, there are myriad offline betting services available to residents of the Sugar State, so the electorate is already accustomed to gambling in general.

In 2013, State Representative Mike Huval pushed for a study to be done on this topic, and the relevant bodies presented a briefing on online gambling to the legislature in 2014. In 2016, Bobby Jindal, a longtime conservative foe of gambling interests, concluded his second term as governor, paving the way for a more moderate governor to take office.

In recent years, neighboring states have been successful in capturing gambling market share, hurting Louisiana's casino's bottom line. All of these developments make it possible that we'll see more LA online gaming licensing pursued in the coming years especially since DFS and sports betting have secured the approval of the majority of parishes. We foresee legalized internet poker eventually coming to the Pelican State, but when it will happen is anybody's guess.

History of Gambling in Louisiana


The area now called Louisiana has an extensive gambling history that dates back to prehistoric periods. The Poverty Point Culture, centered around a series of earthworks near present-day Epps, LA, existed from about 2200 BC to 700 BC. They played a native ballgame that's reminiscent of baseball, and there's archaeological evidence to suggest that wagering on the outcomes was commonplace.

Later tribes, like the Choctaw, played similar games. The Choctaw also played the corn game, which involved blackening one side of kernels of corn. The players would take turns throwing them and scoring points depending on how many blackened sides turned up.

18th Century Map of New Orleans
Map of New Orleans 1728

The earliest European explorers in Louisiana were Spanish, but the first nation to settle the area in earnest was France. In 1701, the French built Fort St. Jean, which grew into New Orleans. The early population of the city was composed of fortune seekers, prospectors, soldiers, and others wrung from the lowest orders of society. It's no surprise that these men of the world were keen practitioners of real money gaming on card games and billiards.

Indeed, one of the early authorities in the city, Edme Salmon, opined that the average resident was a “drunkard and a gambler” who habitually “spent on Sunday all of the money he had earned during the week.” One of the games they brought with them from across the seas was poque, which involved cards, betting, and bluffing. Poque is considered by most historians to be the direct ancestor of poker.

In 1723, all games of chance involving more than 100 livres in bets were banned. There were further attempts to restrict gambling, but they were widely ignored. Officials had a hard time shutting down illicit wagering parlors because the participants would move the locations of the games often so that their whereabouts could not be predicted.

In 1753, Louis Belcourt, Chevalier de Kerlerec was appointed governor of the colony, and he tried a different strategy. He launched a government-run casino to replace illicit facilities for gaming, and it proved successful.

In 1763, Louisiana was traded to Spain, but France reacquired it in a secret treaty in 1800. The Emperor Napoleon sold it to the United States in 1803. Throughout all these changes in administration, gambling remained alive and well. Most residents cared not whether they were ruled from Madrid, Versailles, or Washington; such faraway capitals were remote from the day-to-day affairs of Louisianians. Louisiana became the 18th state in 1812.

Portrait of Bernard de Marigny
Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville,
Wealthy Louisiana Gambler,
1785 - 1868

In 1785, a colorful character was born who would play an instrumental role in Louisiana gambling circles: Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville. His family's wealth and extravagance were legendary; they supposedly commissioned a golden dinner service to be crafted especially for a visit from the heir to the French throne. After the meal, they threw the plates into the Mississippi River on the theory that they were useless because nobody else would be worthy of eating from them after they had been used by so estimable a prince.

Even among such rarified and lavish relations, young Jean-Bernard stood out for his dissipation and spendthrift ways. Hoping to reform him, his guardians sent him on a trip to England during his teenage years, but this backfired as he spent most of his time abroad in gambling houses.

De Marigny brought back with him a fondness for the dice game hazard, which he supposedly refined into a game called “crapaud.” This word means “toad” in French, and rumor has it that the game was so christened because those playing it in the street, hunched over to keep low to the ground, resembled the amphibious creatures in their posture. Eventually, “crapaud” was shortened to “craps,” the name by which we know it today.

In a not unexpected development, Marigny amassed considerable gambling debts, which he discharged in piecemeal fashion by selling parts of his plantation. He named the streets on such plots whimsically, calling one “Craps Street” although it was renamed “Burgundy Street” after three churches located on it complained about the original name, and it retains this latter name to this day.

In the 19th century, the attitude of state leaders vacillated between penalizing gaming and permitting it in strictly regulated environments. In 1808, a municipal ordinance fined the owners of gambling houses and also provided for the seizure of cards, dice, and other paraphernalia. In 1812, the federal government prohibited gambling throughout Louisiana except in New Orleans. About a decade later, the Louisiana legislature permitted and licensed six gaming halls, referred to by the grandiose name “temples of chance.”

Also during the early 1800s, poker made its appearance. It's widely believed to have originated in New Orleans, derived from the earlier game of poque. The first versions of the game used only a 20-card deck with all ranks lower than 10 removed. There was no draw; people just received their cards, bet on them, and had a showdown. However, by the 1830s, 52-card poker was introduced, and the draw was added sometime in the 1840s.

In 1827, John Davis opened up a series of restaurants, hotels, and gambling halls in New Orleans. Free accommodations, fine cuisine, and delicious beverages awaited anyone willing to try his luck at faro, 21, poker, brag, and any number of other games.

In 1835, though, Louisiana decided to clamp down on vice and halted the licensing of gambling parlors. John Davis had to shut his operations down, but his endeavors became the model for future resort-casinos that aimed to entertain guests even while encouraging them to lose their money at the tables. Notwithstanding the law, other entrepreneurs continued to operate gambling businesses although on a much smaller scale than Davis had.

Typical 19th Century Mississippi Riverboat

By this time, Louisiana had begun to play host to another form of gambling: waterborne river passenger boats. Cardsharps found the open atmosphere of these boats conducive to their profession without their having to worry about moral rules enforced by the busybodies and do-gooders on land.

The Mississippi River was the primary means of moving goods and people long distances at affordable rates, and so all kinds of travelers could be found on riverboats along with gamblers to take their money. Unfortunately, many of the games were rigged with the dealers being fully conversant in “stocking” (i.e., stacking) a deck, sand-bagging, teaming up with associates to fleece novices, and other unsavory techniques.

Beginning with the Eclipse Track in New Orleans in 1837, horse racing venues started to proliferate. The Metairie Race Course in 1838, Louisiana Race Course in 1839 (co-founded by de Marigny), and Union Racetrack in 1852 all helped to ensure that New Orleans became one of the premier racing hotspots in the United States during the 1850s: a position it continued to hold for several decades thereafter.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Louisiana leaders were keen to explore methods for raising revenue. Businessman Charles Howard pitched the idea of a lottery, and the Louisiana Lottery Company began its existence at the end of 1868.

Unlike most previous lotteries, this one was not confined to a single town or even state. Rather, it sold tickets all across the nation through the mail, and estimates have placed its annual revenues at around $20 million. For the concession of operating the Louisiana Lottery, the company paid trivial recompense: a mere $40,000 per year.

The management of the firm engaged in shady practices, like putting unsold ticket numbers into the drawing barrels basically allowing the company to sometimes win its own prizes. It was active in politics, making “contributions” to legislators to ensure its continued existence. There were allegations of theft of funds as well. The other states disapproved of the Louisiana Lottery's willingness to offer tickets through the mail because it meant that money was flowing away from their citizens and into the coffers of the company.

A federal decision in 1892 to prohibit lottery tickets to be distributed via the U.S. Postal Service spelled the death knell for the Louisiana Lottery. Its underhanded shenanigans caused many around the country to hold unfavorable views on lotteries in general, and there were no legal lotteries in the United States from the time it ended until 1935 when Puerto Rico instituted a modern lottery.

Louisiana Lottery Ticket - 19th Century Louisiana Lottery Ticket from 1889

By the beginning of the 20th century, all forms of gambling had been outlawed throughout Louisiana except betting on horse races. However, in 1908, this sole form of legalized betting was prohibited too. In 1926, state leaders changed their mind and permitted pari-mutuel race betting. Much as during the preceding centuries, the law was enforced sporadically, and so underground betting facilities closed or remained open depending upon whatever arrangements their owners could make with those in charge.

The regulated gambling front remained quiet in Louisiana up until the 1990s although charitable gaming was authorized from 1968. A lottery amendment passed a voter referendum in 1990, and after close to a 100-year hiatus, the lottery returned to the Pelican State. In 1991, the legislature permitted up to 15 riverboats to supply gaming services to the public.

The same year, video poker terminals were legalized for placement in bars and lounges, restaurants, hotels, racetracks, and truck stops. 1992 saw the state sign its first round of gaming compacts with tribal leaders, allowing Indian gaming establishments to open their doors. In 1996, individual parishes were able to hold elections to decide whether or not to opt-out of hosting video poker within their jurisdictions, and 33 chose to do so. There nevertheless remain more than 10,000 of these devices in use within the parishes that allow them.

1997 saw racetracks given permission to install slot machines, turning them into “racinos” although they're still not able to offer casino table games or poker. Louisiana's sole land-based casino, Harrah's New Orleans, began offering gambling in 1999.

A 2018 ballot measure put the question of fantasy sports to the voters. 47 of the 67 Louisiana parishes decided to allow daily fantasy sports contests. Residents of these parishes will be able to play DFS legally although the exact framework for the industry in the state has yet to be fleshed out. Similarly, voters in 56 parishes approved of traditional sports betting in the 2020 election, but the details of how this will work in practice have not yet been established by the authorities.

To summarize the history of poker and gambling throughout the state of Louisiana, we have compiled a detailed timeline outlining every gambling-related event to occur within the state, which can be found below.

Louisiana Gambling Timeline

Famous Louisiana Poker Players

Shooting Star

For a state with a rich gambling history and that was arguably the birthplace of poker, Louisiana has produced very few prominent players. This may have been because most of the sharks who sat at the green felt in New Orleans gambling dens were from elsewhere and just passing through.

Perhaps the most well-known Louisianian to make a fortune at poker was the flamboyant riverboat sharper Jimmy Fitzgerald. His boots, undergarments, and other accessories were imported from Paris, and his wardrobe required three men to carry it aboard the steamers. The most notable aspect of his dress was the 16-foot gold watch chain that he wore. Jimmy was addicted to the faro tables when he went ashore, and it has been said that he lost just as many fortunes on land as he won on the boats.

In more recent years, Kevin Eyster has been making a name for himself. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he moved to Lafayette, Louisiana, in 2009. First honing his craft online under the screen name, “1$ickDisea$E,” Kevin transitioned to the live tournament circuit where he has amassed more than $4 million in winnings. With 29 WSOP cashes to his credit, including a bracelet in the $5,000 NL Hold'em 6-max event at the 2014 series, Eyster is the winningest Louisiana live tournament poker player of all time.

Other Types of Online Gambling in Louisiana

While there are a few good options for live gambling in Louisiana, many people wish to play on the internet. Fortunately, there are numerous options to wager on slots, table games, and sports. There are so many operators that it can be tricky to determine who to trust. We have carefully researched the available options and we only recommend casinos and sportsbooks that we have personally used. Below, we will provide our top casino and sportsbook recommendations for players in Louisiana.

Online Casinos

Though Louisiana hosts no small number of land-based casinos, the same isn’t true with regard to online gaming. The state has even gone after operators of such concerns in the past. Nevertheless, there are many international internet casinos that have no fear of the Louisiana authorities and welcome residents of the Pelican State through their virtual doors. Here are three of the best of them:

Logo - Ignition Casino
1. Ignition Casino - $1,500 Bonus ($1,000 for non-BTC Deposits) Logo
2. Bovada Casino - THREE 100% up to $1,000 Bonuses (125% up to $1,250 With BTC) Casino Logo
3. SB Casino - $3,000 Total on First 3 Deposits

For more info on trustworthy online casinos, head over to our page describing the most trusted online casinos for USA players.

Online Sportsbooks

Following the Supreme Court decision in Murphy v. NCAA, many states rushed to debut sports betting, which is now legal for states to regulate at their discretion. In 2020, Louisiana joined their ranks in theory as voters in most parishes gave their approval of this activity. In practice, though, there are no Louisiana-licensed sportsbooks now operating because the legislature still has to craft the rules and regulations pertaining to this form of gambling before any operators can begin doing business in the state.

Fortunately, you have recourse to several upstanding online bookies. We’ve taken a look at their offerings and are pleased to present you with our top 3 picks:

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1. Bovada Sports - $250 Sports Welcome Bonus (Triple Bonus With BTC)
Logo of
2. - 50% up to $1,000 Bonus (100% Match With Bitcoin)
Logo of Nitrogen Sports
3. Nitrobetting Sports - 100% First Deposit Bonus up to 25mBTC

These are by no means the only trustworthy Louisiana internet sportsbooks. To find out about other honorable operators, go read our overview of the leading online sports betting sites for Americans.

Summary of Louisiana Online Poker

There are no laws holding you back from playing online poker in Louisiana. This form of competition is convenient, entertaining, and possibly profitable depending on your own level of skill. Find a good Louisiana online poker home from the options we've presented, and begin your internet poker journey today.

Frequently Asked Questions

We've listened to the common questions raised by our readers and have therefore put together a FAQ addressing some of them. You can turn here for solid information about issues related to online poker in Louisiana.

No, despite the presence of widespread gambling, including poker, throughout the State of Louisiana, a regulated online poker market has yet to be authorized. The only step the legislature has taken in this direction was the commissioning of a 2014 study into the matter. Even after the results were presented in 2014, no bills have been introduced to establish a licensed internet gambling framework within the state.

Yes, you can enjoy Louisiana online poker without any risk of legal persecution. There are state laws in effect specifically making online gambling illegal, but the way the texts are laid out, it's only those operating the games that can be prosecuted.

As an individual internet poker enthusiast, you have nothing to fear as long as you don't conduct your gameplay in public places because there is a statute criminalizing gambling in public. Actually, we've never heard of anyone being arrested for playing online poker in public, but the law is still on the books.

At the federal level, the Wire Act in conjunction with the UIGEA used to be understood as making online poker against the law. However, in 2011, the Department of Justice wrote an opinion stating that the Wire Act only prohibits online sports-betting, not any other type of real money gaming.

There's thus nothing proscribing online card games nationwide. In any case, the UIGEA only targeted those involved in hosting virtual games and in processing payments for them, so ordinary players were and are totally in the clear.

Yes, the state police have no interest in penalizing regular players for heading online to PokerStars. However, this doesn't mean what you may think it does.

You see, PokerStars has promised to stay out of the U.S. market except in those jurisdictions where there are legal licensure regimes in place for internet poker. Louisiana doesn't fit this criterion, and so the company does not accept players from the Bayou State.

This policy was put in place by PokerStars management as part of a deal arranged with the federal authorities in the aftermath of the Black Friday crackdown against online poker.

PokerStars is in fact excluded from doing business in certain areas that DO have fully legal state-run poker environments. This is because its competitors have been successful in inserting “bad actor” clauses into the relevant legislation. That is, PokerStars cannot compete in these areas because of its previous experience serving the United States from 2007 - 2011. It's a shame that the world's largest poker site is having so much trouble reentering the States, but such are the consequences of the complex and byzantine legal strictures in place.

Yes, you can partake in the tables at Ignition Poker without incident. Although the LA government feels that its legal code gives it justification for acting against offshore poker providers, this opinion is particular to law enforcement agencies within the state itself. Other courts, most notably in New York during the Peter Dicks case, believe that the writ of Louisiana law doesn't apply elsewhere.

The PaiWangLuo Network, of which Ignition is a member, is based in Hong Kong and follows the laws of that location. Its executives are not impressed by Louisiana's broad interpretation of its own powers and instead subscribe to well-understood international rules that allow goods and services to be traded across national boundaries.

Yes, BetOnline is a legal and safe place to go for online poker in Louisiana. It's headquartered and licensed in Panama, and so whatever rules Louisiana thinks it can make are not relevant to BoL's everyday activities.

The World Trade Organization has indeed determined that the United States is not living up to its treaty obligations by making it difficult for foreign gambling firms to do business within its territory. Louisiana's laws were specifically mentioned by the WTO as being problematic from an international legal perspective.

The principals of Global Poker contend that their operations are legal in Louisiana and 48 other states, but we think they might be fooling themselves (and their customers).

For reasons that are too convoluted to get into here, we feel that they may be in violation of federal laws and be breaking the terms of service of their payment processor, PayPal. For a thorough treatment of this subject, head over to our Global Poker review.

Louisiana has imposed minimum ages of 18 for pari-mutuel betting and charitable bingo but 21 for all other forms of gambling. While the topic of underage online gaming hasn't really come up in the legislative arena, and so there are no specific regulations for it, it's very likely that these same guidelines for live gaming transfer over to the online realm.

Yet, we’ve already seen that Louisiana’s local laws don’t translate well to the online realm. As a matter of fact, you need to be just 18 years old or older to set up poker accounts at most online destinations for the game.

No, there are strict laws against this, and they're actually enforced. In January 2014, authorities arrested the owners of an internet café in Gretna that was suspected of being a front for an online casino. In 2017, a Plaquemine man was arrested for similar offenses allegedly committed from a restaurant he owned.

There are a number of funding and cashout methods available at leading sites for online poker in Louisiana, including credit cards and money transfers. We believe that the crypto-currency Bitcoin is the best one because it facilitates the speedy movement of money with reasonably low fees. All of the major sites that accept Louisiana players support Bitcoin.

Ethereum is another growing crypto-currency that has even lower fees and more rapid transaction timeframes associated with its use than Bitcoin, but there are only a few online poker sites that work with ETH. If you'd like to learn more about how you can use Ethereum to play poker, check out our Ethereum online gambling guide. Another interesting crypto coin that’s gaining traction in online gaming is Bitcoin Cash.

Louisiana considers gambling winnings to be income, and so does the IRS. It's up to you to report your gambling income on the proper forms; otherwise, you might be subject to future fines and financial penalties.

None of the Louisiana online poker rooms withhold taxes or send paperwork to the tax collection agencies, so the entire responsibility lies with the individual winners. The tax codes are notoriously difficult to understand, and if you derive a sizable fraction of your income from poker, we recommend that you consult a professional CPA for additional assistance and information.

Windows is the most common platform for playing online poker, but there are quite a few poker rooms that are compatible with Macs too. Ignition and all work with this popular line of Apple computers. Even at sites that don't deploy dedicated Mac poker clients, you may have success in running the standard Windows client on your Mac via emulation software.

Mobile poker apps give you the freedom to log in not just while you're at home but also when you're traveling or at work. Ignition,, and Americas Cardroom are a few of the sites that cater to mobile gamers. Be warned, however, that at some poker rooms, your choice of games is more restrictive on mobile platforms than on desktop systems.

Louisiana Lo-Flop is a poker variant that, unlike its name might imply, features neither a flop nor lowball play.

The way it works is that each player antes and then is dealt two cards facedown. Each player may look at only one of their cards. Higher cards are better. There's a round of betting, then every participant gets the opportunity to switch the card they are playing from the one they have seen to the other unknown card. If they do so, they pick up the second card, and the original card no longer plays.

After a second round of betting, showdown takes place, and the highest card wins the pot. In case of ties, suits come into play with the following ranking: spades (highest), hearts, diamonds, clubs (lowest).

Additional Resources

Louisiana's residents have certainly been known to gamble on occasion, and you can find out more about this pastime below:

We strive to maintain this information and update it frequently with our research. However, we are not immune to making mistakes or omitting information that you, dear reader, may find of use. If you have any further questions not addressed in this guide or have noted any discrepancies or inaccuracies we urge you to contact us with your questions and concerns so that we may swiftly address them!