Because of the enormous popularity of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it feels like there has always been legalized gambling in Louisiana.
However, that’s far from the case. In fact, casino gaming has only been legal in the Pelican State for a few decades. The first statute legalizing riverboat gaming became law in 1991. Enabling legislation for the state’s first, and so far only, commercial land-based casino passed the following year.
Since then, four racinos and four tribal casinos have filled out the landscape in Louisiana. There are also now thousands of video lottery terminals (VLTs) in businesses across the state’s appropriate parishes.
Suffice to say, if you went back in time to the late 1980s or earlier, you’d see a very different world when it comes to gaming in Louisiana.
Are online casinos legal in Louisiana?
The simple answer to this question is no. So far, none of the gambling expansions that voters in Louisiana’s 64 parishes have approved included online casino games or online poker.
Louisianans also cannot legally play online casino games that are permissible in other states unless they travel to one of those states. That’s because of multiple federal laws that make online gambling across state lines illegal. To change this, it would likely require Louisiana to go the same route it went to legalize online daily fantasy sports contests and online sports betting: a parish-by-parish referendum.
Louisianans can legally play online social and sweepstakes games at sites like Chumba and Luckyland, however, as long as there is no consideration element.
How many casinos are in Louisiana?
The answer to that question partially depends on what you consider a “casino.” A broad definition of that term would include:
- Businesses that house VLT machines
- Harrah’s New Orleans, the only non-tribal, land-based casino in Louisiana
- Horse tracks that also operate slots and limited gaming tables, also known as “racinos”
- Riverboats that offer casino-style gaming
- Tribal casinos
If you consider all of the above to be casinos, then there are hundreds across the state. That number includes dozens of VLT rooms, four racinos, four tribal casinos, and 15 separate riverboats.
The total number of licensed VLTs across the state surpasses 12,000. That’s the number of machines, not the number of businesses giving customers the option to play them. Currently, the state licenses over 1,500 establishments to house VLTs. In most of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, casino gaming is easily accessible.
List of casinos in Louisiana
Some of the following properties offer an array of amenities to complement their gaming, such as dining and hotels. Others focus on gambling.
Either way, these facilities in Louisiana offer a great variety of options for casino patrons. You must be at least 21 years of age to gamble, regardless of whether the casino is commercial or tribal, land-based or riverboat.
|Commercial or Tribal?
|Land-based or riverboat?
|500 Lake Palourde Rd
|Belle of Baton Rouge
|102 France St
|Boomtown Bossier City
|300 Riverside Dr
|Boomtown New Orleans
|4132 Peters Rd
|Coushatta Casino Resort
|777 Coushatta Dr
|Cypress Bayou Casino
|832 Martin Luther King Rd
|Diamond Jacks Casino Bossier City
|711 Diamondjacks Blvd
|451 Clint Fant Pkwy
|Golden Nugget Lake Charles
|2550 Golden Nugget Blvd
|Harrah's New Orleans
|228 Poydras St
|Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge
|1717 North St
|Horseshoe Bossier City
|711 Horseshoe Blvd
|Isle of Capri Casino Lake Charles
|100 Westlake Ave
|Jena Choctaw Pines Casino
|149 Chahta Trl
|L'Auberge Casino Baton Rouge
|777 Lauberge Ave
|L'Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles
|777 Avenue L'Auberge
|Margaritaville Resort Casino
|777 Margaritaville Way
|Paragon Casino Resort
|711 Paragon Pl
|Sam's Town Shreveport
|315 Clint Fant Pkwy
|Treasure Chest Casino
|5050 Williams Blvd
Louisiana is also well-known by horse racing enthusiasts. The state’s tracks offer limited casino gaming in addition to live races and simulcasting.
|2717 Delta Downs Dr
|2235 Creswell Ln Ext
|Quarterhorse and Thoroughbred
|Fair Grounds Race Course
|1751 Gentilly Blvd
|Harrah's Louisiana Downs
|8000 E Texas St
What games can be found at Louisiana casinos?
Casinos in Louisiana offer every type of gaming permissible under the terms of gaming compacts and state law. Tribal casinos don’t differ from their commercial counterparts on this point. Where you will see some disparity, however, is between fully fledged casinos and racinos along with VLT rooms.
If you visit Harrah’s New Orleans, any of the four tribal casinos, any of the four racinos, or any of the 15 riverboat casinos in the state, you’ll find slot machines for your perusal. The variety and volume of machines will differ from one facility to the next.
VLT rooms house machines that strongly resemble slots in their appearance and function. There is a difference in how the odds and payouts function, however. Essentially, VLTs have a pre-determined number of winners, like a lottery game, while slot machines pay out prizes on a fixed-odds basis. Another way to describe the difference is that your “opponent” on VLT machines is other players, while you are playing against the house with a slot machine.
If you want to try your hand at various baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, or various three-card poker variants, you’ll have to visit Harrah’s New Orleans, a riverboat casino, or a tribal casino. Racinos and VLT rooms around the state cannot legally offer table gaming. Like with poker and slots, the variety and volume of gaming tables differ from one facility to the next, but most operators do represent all the games in this category.
It is legal to offer bingo games in Louisiana as long as the operator is licensed and all proceeds go to an eligible charity. There are over 100 bingo halls spread throughout the state.
Class III licensees in Louisiana and tribal casinos can offer a myriad of different poker games. This includes not only the five- or seven-card games you’d expect to find in a poker room but also video versions of the same. Poker rooms of disparate sizes are available at Harrah’s New Orleans, all four tribal casinos, and most of the state’s 15 riverboat casinos.
Just like with bingo, keno games are legal in the state as long as the entity running the games has a license and profits go to support an eligible charity. Many of the same establishments offering bingo also have keno games available.
Louisiana casino revenue growth
Over the years since launching, the casino industry in Louisiana has grown from infantile to impressive.
For example, in the fiscal year 1995, riverboat casinos, tribal casinos, and VLTs provided $391.2 million to the state in terms of direct economic value. The past five fiscal years have shown a mostly steady decline from the record amount of $713.8 million in 2016, however. It should be noted that in the fiscal year 2020-21, all of the gaming establishments in the state were closed for multiple months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 2020-21: $573.97 million
- 2019-20: $700.54 million
- 2018-19: $706.41 million
- 2017-18: $701.99 million
- 2016-17: $705.51 milion
In Louisiana, taxes on gambling revenue deliver funds to municipalities, parishes, and the state.
For example, in the 2020-21 fiscal year, the Boomtown Bossier City riverboat casino paid out over $10 million in local fees on top of the near-$9 million in state taxes.
What’s more, VLTs are heavy contributors to both localities and the state coffers as well. For instance, during the aforementioned fiscal year, VLT licensees contributed over $4 million to Jefferson Parish in addition to more than $13 million to the state.