Louisiana Online Poker | Louisiana Poker Rooms
Lousiana, has a rich gaming history dating back to riverboats floating along the Mississippi in the early 1700's. Since 1991 Louisiana has granted licenses for not only river boat casinos, but also land based Native-American casinos. Louisiana will hopefully come onboard with the regulation of online poker in the near future though there are some obstacles to be overcome in this state in particular.
Currently Louisiana has poker rooms all across the state. These include: Harrah's New Orleans, Coushatta Poker Room and Grand Casino in Kinder city, L'Auberge du Lac Casino and Isle of Capri Casino, both in Lake charles. And many more such as Hollywood Casino in Shreveport, Diamond Jacks in, Bossier City, and the Paragon Casino in Marksville. That live poker has such deep roots in Louisiana means that hopefully in the future of Louisiana online poker, the public will be open minded and accepting.
The climate for private poker home games in Louisiana is fairly accepting as well, as long as players follow certain rules. The owner can't charge rake or an entry fee, which keeps it from being an unlawful business. Furthermore the age of legal gambling in, Louisiana, is 21, so no players under 21 can be seated at the table. Lastly the game must take place in a private location.
Online poker was first singled out from these other forms of poker in 2006 in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 commonly known a the UIGEA. The UIGEA made transactions from banks or similar institutions to online gambling sites illegal. Though it didn't outlaw online poker in any way, it did outlaw banks handling "gambling transactions". Even though poker is a game of skill and the law was vague, PartyGaming, Bwin, Cassava Enterprises and Sportingbet left the USA market at that time to play it safe.
Shortly after the UIGEA Louisiana passed a state law making it a crime to play online poker. Under the 2006 Lousiana Title 14 Criminal Law, section 90.3 discusses "gambling by computer". Gambling under this law is defined as any activity "hereby 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." The punishment is "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." How this law will be enforced in the future is unclear.
On April 15th 2011, the United States Department of Justice seized funds from the two largest online poker sites, PokerStars and FullTilt Poker. Following this action and the subsequent ban of these two large sites in the American market, the future of online poker in Louisiana is also uncertain.
The positive of the recent Department of Justice intervention in online poker and the state specific Louisiana laws against online poker is that if/when online poker is regulated in the United States, these rulings and actions against poker will be rendered null and void. Federal regulation of online poker would allow Louisiana online poker sites to operate freely and serve players freely, hopefully this is in the near future. The regulation of online poker represents a huge opportunity for the U.S. government to generate tax revenue.