Is Sports Betting Legal in Louisiana?

Steeped in a fairly wide collection of sports teams, Louisiana is among the states that are most flexible when it comes to gambling options. This registers, quite literally, as no surprise. Louisiana, after all, includes the city of New Orleans, one of the biggest party atmospheres offered in the United States. To say the region as a whole is ridiculously progressive might be a stretch, but the local government does, at least, understand the benefits of capitalizing on outside-the-box revenue. 

Louisiana Sports Betting Law

Sports betting laws in Louisiana are not particularly restrictive. They have some interesting rules and regulations when it comes to online gaming, and poker is only legal in casinos. You also won’t find a ton of in-person sportsbooks from which to choose. But they do have horse and dog racing tracks, along with loose social gambling policies that technically allow for all the sports-related pools and bets among friends one could make.

Specific Casino Distinctions

Casinos are legal in Louisiana, and there are a lot of them—more than two dozen across the state, many of which are found in Baton Rouge, Bossier City and New Orleans. Some quirks do exist in monitoring these operations, though.

Land-based casinos must be tribally owned. No exceptions. Riverboat casinos, however, aren’t subject to the same limitations. These can be conglomerately operated.

Poker Illegal Outside Casinos

Where some states might allow for poker rooms or video poker outside casinos, Louisiana does not. And it’s kind of an ingenius move when you think about it. Capitalizing on those smaller establishments or online markets isn’t as easy—or, in the case of the internet, necessarily possible. Though the state turns its cheek to household games, renouncing the larger-scale resources ensures more people flock to official gathering spots in casinos and at race tracks. 

To be clear, this rule doesn’t prevent people from playing poker online. And Louisiana, to be quite honest, won’t get caught up prosecuting or tracking down everyone who does. The law is their deterrent. And people who abide by it are their demographic. They come out on top for every person who follows the rule, while stragglers outside the line aren’t of special concern.

Robust Social Gambling

Don’t worry: The legality issues on the poker front don’t extend to your household game. Social gambling in Louisiana is perfectly legal. Everything from football pools, to card games, to sporting-event bets among friends is permitted.

This only changes when someone is taking a cut. As an example, if you’re giving money to a person who doesn’t participate but is running a poker game out of their home, that’s when you’ve entered a gray area. Otherwise, you’re in the clear. 

Online Gambling is Illegal

While this might seem counterintuitive to Louisiana’s lax approach elsewhere, it’s actually not. Instead, it’s the same idea as the video poker argument from before. Louisiana isn’t necessarily going to hunt you down for using online sportsbooks and casinos. The deterrent and profits are in the law. Everyone who adheres to it by patroning sanctioned casinos and race tracks drives up local profits, while everyone doesn’t—well, just doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.

Louisiana Gambling Law Overview

Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Louisiana at this time.

  • Casino Gambling: Legal
  • Tribal Gambling: Legal
  • Poker: Legal (but only in casinos)
  • Horse-Race Betting: Legal
  • Dog-Race Betting: Legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Betting: Not specified (though high-stakes wagering would be considered illegal)
  • Social Gambling: Legal
  • Charitable Gambling: Legal
  • Online Gambling: Illegal 

Louisiana Sports Teams

New Orleans Saints (NFL)

It has been three years since the New Orleans Saints last won more than seven games and earned a playoff appearance. And yet, they still remain relevant in the national eye—and, obviously, the local one. So what gives?

Well, first, current quarterback Drew Brees cannonballed the Saints to their only Super Bowl victory ever in 2009. That type of victory builds a lot of goodwill, and New Orleans rattled off four playoff appearances in five years right around that time as well. It all adds up.

The Saints are also one of the NFL’s premier offenses basically every year, in large part because Brees is still comfortable flinging 35-plus aerial assaults each week.

Scoring sells, even when it comes from a mediocre team. And the Saints score more than almost anyone. Defense be damned, they’ll remain relevant for as long as Brees and company can rack up touchdowns (many of which, admittedly, seem to come in garbage time).

New Orleans Pelicans (NBA)

Dating back to when the New Orleans Pelicans first became a franchise in 2002 (then named the Hornets), they have earned just six postseason cameos and only made it out of the first round once.

Still: New Orleans helps them get by. It’s an underrated market, and fans continue to be in that honeymoon period, wherein they’re grateful to have an NBA franchise at all.

It also helps that the Pelicans have a top-five superstar in Anthony Davis, and that they recently acquired another top-10 name in DeMarcus Cousins.

The two have yet to coalesce into a superpower, but the potential for them to succeed is there—and so is, by default, interest both inside and outside Louisiana.

Louisiana State University Fighting Tigers (College Football)

College football is big in Louisiana. Like, really big. And there is no program more revered throughout the state than the Louisiana State Tigers. They have been to a major bowl game every year since 2000, a stretch that’s included an impressive 11-6 record in championship matchups.

The team was thrown for a whirl this past season when Les Miles, the SEC powerhouse’s head coach since 2005, was fired, but they rebounded in time to secure a Citrus Bowl appearance and victory. LSU hasn’t experienced their present state of unrest in some time, but the hope is their mystique will continue to reel in recruits under Miles’ successor, Ed Orgeron. 

Louisiana’s Biggest Sporting Event of the Year

Nothing comes relatively close to beating the popularity of Louisiana’s Sugar Bowl, a college football championship tilt that’s played every year at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

While it used to be a part of the rotating National Championship Bowl games, it is now among the six rotating participants in the somewhat newly implemented College Football Playoff. And even when it’s not one of the four playoff games, it’s still considered a big deal. Put in layman’s terms: Playing in the Sugar Bowl means a lot to partaking universities, no matter the year.

Results / FixturesNFL, NBA, NCAA Football