Louisiana residents have plenty of land-based gambling options from which to choose. They can engage in pari-mutuel betting at the local racetracks, enjoy slots or table games at the local casinos, or even play video poker in taverns or convenience stores in select parishes. Unfortunately, the Bayou State has not regulated sports betting or paid-entry DFS contests yet, which means that state-sanctioned Internet gambling is limited to horse race betting on online OTB platforms.
Louisiana Criminal Law defines gambling as “intentionally conducting a game or contest in which a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit.” In addition, the relevant regulations contain provisions that directly criminalize Internet gambling. The crime of “gambling by computer” is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to six months in jail. If that weren’t deterrent enough, the authorities are required to destroy any devices seized as the instrument of said crime, subsequent to conviction.
Most gambling-related matters are covered by Louisiana Revised Statutes, section 14:90 et seq. and 27:201 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 18 for pari-mutuel betting and charitable gambling and 21 for lottery games and casino-style games.
Louisiana Revised Statutes
TITLE 14 CRIMINAL LAW
CHAPTER 1. CRIMINAL CODE
SUBPART D. PARTIES
§23. Parties classified
The parties to crimes are classified as:
(1) Principals; and
(2) Accessories after the fact.
All persons concerned in the commission of a crime, whether present or absent, and whether they directly commit the act constituting the offense, aid and abet in its commission, or directly or indirectly counsel or procure another to commit the crime, are principals.
§25. Accessories after the fact
An accessory after the fact is any person who, after the commission of a felony, shall harbor, conceal, or aid the offender, knowing or having reasonable ground to believe that he has committed the felony, and with the intent that he may avoid or escape from arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment.
An accessory after the fact may be tried and punished, notwithstanding the fact that the principal felon may not have been arrested, tried, convicted, or amenable to justice.
Whoever becomes an accessory after the fact shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both; provided that in no case shall his punishment be greater than one-half of the maximum provided by law for a principal offender.
14 SUBPART B. OFFENSES AFFECTING GENERAL MORALITY
(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.
(2) Whoever conducts, finances, manages, supervises, directs, or owns all or part of an illegal gambling business shall be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both when:
(a) R.S. 14:90 is violated.
(b) Five or more persons are involved who conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct, or own all or part of an illegal gambling business.
(c) Such business has been in or remains in substantially continuous operation for a period of thirty days or more or, if the continuous operation is for less than thirty days, has a gross revenue of two thousand dollars in any single day.
B. The conducting, or directly assisting in the conducting, as a business, of any game, contest, lottery, or contrivance on board a commercial cruise ship used for the international carriage of passengers whereby a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit is not gambling and shall not be suppressed by any law enforcement officer of the state of Louisiana or any of its political subdivisions. This Subsection shall apply only to commercial cruise ships for the carriage of passengers which are sailing from a port outside the continental limits of the United States to a port in any parish of this state having a population of more than four hundred seventy-five thousand or any such ship which is sailing from a port in such a parish to a port outside the continental limits of the United States, provided that the ship is not docked or anchored but is navigating en route between such ports.
C. The conducting or assisting in the conducting of authorized lottery activities or operations in accordance with provisions of R.S. 47:9000 through 9081 shall not be considered gambling for purposes of this Section.
D. The intentional conducting or assisting in the conducting of gaming activities upon a riverboat as defined and authorized in R.S. 4:501 through R.S. 4:562, whereby a person risks the loss of anything of value in order to realize a profit is not gambling and shall not be suppressed by any state or local law enforcement officer.
E. The intentional conducting or assisting in the conducting of gaming operations at the official gaming establishment as defined and authorized in Chapter 10 of Title 4 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950 shall not constitute gambling.
§90.1. Seizure and disposition of evidence, property and proceeds; gambling
A.(1) Upon conviction of a person for the crime of gambling, gambling by computer, or related offenses, the evidence, property, and paraphernalia seized as instruments of such crime shall, upon order of the court, be destroyed when it is no longer needed as evidence and all such evidence, property, and paraphernalia found to be in use in the conduct of such unlawful activity and having a value for lawful purposes, shall be sold under the orders of the court at public auction and the proceeds handled in accordance with Subsection B of this Section.
(2) Nothing shall prohibit the seizing or prosecutorial agency from petitioning the court to keep and maintain articles of evidence, property and paraphernalia for the purposes of training of investigators, historical display, or both.
B.(1) All property, immovable or movable, including money, used in the course of, intended for use in the course of, derived from, or realized through, conduct in violation of a provision of R.S. 14:90, 90.2, 90.3, or 90.6, notwithstanding whether a conviction has been procured, is subject to civil forfeiture to the state. The state shall dispose of all forfeited property as soon as commercially feasible.
(2)(a) All forfeitures or dispositions under this Subsection shall be made with due regard for the rights of factually innocent persons. No mortgage, lien, privilege, or other security interest recognized under the laws of Louisiana shall be affected by a forfeiture hereunder if the holder of such mortgage, lien, privilege, or other security interest establishes that he is a factually innocent person. No forfeiture or disposition under this Section shall affect the rights of factually innocent persons provided that following notice of pending forfeiture a written claim is filed with the seizing agency and the district attorney within thirty days of seizure.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, a mortgage, lien, or security interest held by a federally-insured financial institution shall not be affected by the seizure and forfeiture provisions of this Section.
(3) Notice of pending forfeiture or service shall be given in accordance with one of the following:
(a) If the owner’s or interest holder’s name and current address are known, either by personal service or by mailing a copy of the notice by certified mail to that address.
(b) If the owner’s or interest holder’s name and address are required by law to be recorded with the parish clerk of court, the office of motor vehicles of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, or another state or federal agency to perfect an interest in the property, and the owner’s or interest holder’s current address is not known, by mailing a copy of the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to any address of record with any of such agencies.
(c) If the owner’s or interest holder’s address is not known and is not on record as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, or the owner’s or interest holder’s interest is not known, by publication in one issue of the official journal in the parish in which the seizure occurs.
(d) Notice is effective upon personal service, publication, or the mailing of a written notice, whichever is earlier, and shall include a description of the property, the date and place of seizure, the conduct giving rise to forfeiture or the violation of law alleged, and a summary of procedures and procedural rights applicable to the forfeiture action.
(e) The district attorney may file, without a filing fee, a lien for the forfeiture of property upon the initiation of any civil or criminal proceeding under this Chapter or upon seizure for forfeiture. The filing constitutes notice to any person claiming an interest in the seized property or in property owned by the named person.
(4)(a) Only an owner of or interest holder in property seized for forfeiture may file a claim, and shall do so in the manner provided in this Section. The claim shall be mailed to the seizing agency and to the district attorney by certified mail, return receipt requested, within thirty days after notice of pending forfeiture. No extension of time for the filing of a claim shall be granted.
(b) The claim shall be in affidavit form, signed by the claimant under oath, and sworn to by the affiant before one who has authority to administer the oath, under penalty of perjury or false swearing and shall set forth all of the following:
(i) The caption of the proceedings as set forth on the notice of pending forfeiture or petition and the name of the claimant.
(ii) The address where the claimant will accept mail.
(iii) The nature and extent of the claimant’s interest in the property.
(iv) The date, identity of the transferor, and the circumstances of the claimant’s acquisition of the interest in the property.
(v) The specific provision of this Chapter relied on in asserting that the property is not subject to forfeiture.
(vi) All essential facts supporting each assertion.
(vii) The specific relief sought.
(5) The allocation of proceeds from such forfeiture and disposition shall be determined by the court in accordance with each law enforcement entity’s participation in the investigation, seizure, and forfeiture process.
(a) Proceeds are to be placed into a gambling forfeiture trust fund maintained by the appropriate local, state, or federal agency. Such proceeds are to be used exclusively in law enforcement. Permissible uses include, but are not limited to, reward programs established by such agencies, prosecution, continuing legal education, law enforcement training and equipment.
(b) Prior to such allocation, the costs of investigation shall be paid to the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation and twenty-five percent of the proceeds, including the costs of prosecution, shall be paid to the district attorney’s gambling forfeiture trust fund, or in parishes where no such fund exists, to the district attorney’s office.
(c) The court shall make an allocation of twenty-five percent of the proceeds based on participation of law enforcement agencies involved.
(d) The remainder of the proceeds shall be deposited into the State General Fund.
C.(1) In the event of a seizure under this Section, a forfeiture proceeding shall be instituted within a reasonable period of time. Property taken or detained under this Section shall not be subject to sequestration or attachment but is deemed to be in the custody of the law enforcement officer making the seizure, subject only to the order of the court. When property is seized under this Section, pending forfeiture and final disposition, the law enforcement officer making the seizure may either:
(a) Place the property under seal.
(b) Remove the property to a place designated by the court.
(c) Request another agency authorized by law to take custody of the property and remove it to an appropriate location.
(2) In the case of currency, the currency shall be photographed and transferred in the form of a cashiers check to the district attorney for deposit into the gambling forfeiture trust fund pending adjudication.
D. The district attorney may institute civil proceedings under this Section. In any action brought under this Section, the district court shall proceed as soon as practicable to the hearing and determination. Pending final determination, the court may at any time enter such injunctions or restraining orders or take such actions, including the acceptance of satisfactory performance bonds, as the court may deem proper.
E. A final judgment or decree rendered in favor of the state in any criminal proceeding shall preclude the defendant from denying the essential facts established in that proceeding in any subsequent civil action.
F. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a criminal or civil action or proceeding under this Chapter may be commenced at any time within five years after the conduct in violation of a provision of this Chapter terminates or the cause of action accrues. If a criminal prosecution or civil action is brought under the provisions of this Chapter, the running of the period prescribed by this Section with respect to any cause of action arising under Subsection D of this Section which is based in whole or in part upon any matter complained of in any such prosecution or action shall be suspended during the pendency of such prosecution or action and for two years following its termination.
G. A defendant who violates any provision of R.S. 14:90 or 90.3 shall be liable individually, and when two or more defendants have violated any provision of R.S. 14:90 or 90.3 they be liable in solido for all damages, costs of court, and other costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of such violations.
§90.2. Gambling in public
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.
§90.3. Gambling by computer
A. The Legislature of Louisiana, desiring to protect individual rights, while at the same time affording opportunity for the fullest development of the individual and promoting the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people, including the children of this state who are our most precious and valuable resource, finds that the state has a compelling interest in protecting its citizens and children from certain activities and influences which can result in irreparable harm. The legislature has expressed its intent to develop a controlled well-regulated gaming industry. The legislature is also charged with the responsibility of protecting and assisting its citizens who suffer from compulsive or problem gaming behavior which can result from the increased availability of legalized gaming activities. The legislature recognizes the development of the Internet and the information super highway allowing communication and exchange of information from all parts of the world and freely encourages this exchange of information and ideas. The legislature recognizes and encourages the beneficial effects computers, computer programming, and use of the Internet resources have had on the children of the state of Louisiana by expanding their educational horizons. The legislature further recognizes that it has an obligation and responsibility to protect its citizens, and in particular its youngest citizens, from the pervasive nature of gambling which can occur via the Internet and the use of computers connected to the Internet. Gambling has long been recognized as a crime in the state of Louisiana and despite the enactment of many legalized gaming activities remains a crime. Gambling which occurs via the Internet embodies the very activity that the legislature seeks to prevent. The legislature further recognizes that the state’s constitution and that of the United States are declarations of rights which the drafters intended to withstand time and address the wrongs and injustices which arise in future years. The legislature hereby finds and declares that it has balanced its interest in protecting the citizens of this state with the protection afforded by the First Amendment, and the mandates of Article XII, Section 6 of the Constitution of Louisiana and that this Section is a product thereof.
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.
C. For purposes of this Section the following definitions apply:
(1) “Client ” means anyone using a computer to access a computer server.
(2) “Computer ” includes an electronic, magnetic, optical, or other high-speed data processing device or system performing logical, arithmetic, and storage functions, and includes any property, data storage facility, or communications facility directly related to or operating in conjunction with such device or system. “Computer” shall not include an automated typewriter or typesetter, a machine designed solely for word processing, or a portable hand-held calculator, nor shall “computer” include any other device which might contain components similar to those in computers but in which the components have the sole function of controlling the device for the single purpose for which the device is intended.
(3) “Computer network ” means a set of related, remotely connected devices and communication facilities including at least one computer system with capability to transmit data through communication facilities.
(4) “Computer services ” means providing access to or service or data from a computer, a computer system, or a computer network.
(5) “Computer software ” means a set of computer programs, procedures, and associated documentation concerned with operation of a computer system.
(6) “Computer system ” means a set of functionally related, connected or unconnected, computer equipment, devices, or computer software.
(7) “Home Page ” means the index or location for each computer site on the World Wide Web.
(8) “Internet ” means the global information system that is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol or its subsequent extensions, is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol suite or its subsequent extensions, and other Internet Protocol compatible protocols, and provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein.
(9) “Server ” means a computer that listens for and services a client.
(10) “World Wide Web ” means a server providing connections to mega lists of information on the Internet; it is made up of millions of individual web sites linked together.
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.
E. Whoever designs, develops, manages, supervises, maintains, provides, or produces any computer services, computer system, computer network, computer software, or any server providing a Home Page, Web Site, or any other product accessing the Internet, World Wide Web, or any part thereof offering to any client for the primary purpose of 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 shall be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both.
F. The conducting or assisting in the conducting of gaming activities or operations upon a riverboat, at the official gaming establishment, by operating an electronic video draw poker device, by a charitable gaming licensee, or at a pari-mutuel wagering facility or the operation of a state lottery which is licensed for operation and regulated under the provisions of Chapter 4 of Title 4, Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of Title 27, or Part V-A of Chapter 14 of Title 33 or Subtitle XI of Title 47 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, shall not be considered gambling by computer for the purposes of this Section, so long as the wagering is done on the premises of the licensed establishment.
G. The conducting or assisting in the conducting of pari-mutuel wagering at licensed racing facilities under the provisions of Chapter 4 of Title 4 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, shall not be considered gambling by computer for the purposes of this Section so long as the wagering is done on the premises of the licensed establishment.
H. Nothing in this Section shall prohibit, limit, or otherwise restrict the purchase, sale, exchange, or other transaction related to stocks, bonds, futures, options, commodities, or other similar instruments or transactions occurring on a stock or commodities exchange, brokerage house, or similar entity.
I. The providing of Internet or other on-line access, transmission, routing, storage, or other communication related services, or Web Site design, development, storage, maintenance, billing, advertising, hypertext linking, transaction processing, or other site related services, by telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, software developers, licensors, or other such parties providing such services to customers in the normal course of their business, shall not be considered gambling by computer even though the activities of such customers using such services to conduct a prohibited game, contest, lottery, or contrivance may constitute gambling by computer for the purposes of this Section. The provisions of this Subsection shall not exempt from criminal prosecution any telephone company, Internet Service Provider, software developer, licensor, or other such party if its primary purpose in providing such service is to conduct gambling as a business.
§90.4. Unlawful playing of video draw poker devices by persons under the age of twenty-one; penalty
A. It is unlawful for any person under twenty-one years of age to play video draw poker devices.
B. For purposes of this Section, “video draw poker device ” means a device, as defined in R.S. 27:301(B)(15), placed in an establishment licensed for operation and regulated under the applicable provisions of Chapter 6 of Title 27 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.
C. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars for the first offense, two hundred fifty dollars for the second offense, and five hundred dollars for the third offense.
D. A gaming licensee, or a specifically authorized employee or agent of a gaming licensee, may use reasonable force to detain a person for questioning on the premises of the gaming establishment, for a length of time, not to exceed sixty minutes, unless it is reasonable under the circumstances that the person be detained longer, when he has reasonable cause to believe that the person has violated the provisions of this Section. The licensee or his employee or agent may also detain such a person for arrest by a peace officer. The detention shall not constitute an arrest.
§90.5. Unlawful playing of gaming devices by persons under the age of twenty-one; underage persons, penalty
A. It is unlawful for any person under twenty-one years of age to play casino games, gaming devices, or slot machines.
B. No person under the age of twenty-one shall enter, or be permitted to enter, the designated gaming area of a riverboat, the official gaming establishment, or the designated slot machine gaming area of a pari-mutuel wagering facility which offers live horse racing licensed for operation and regulated under the applicable provisions of Chapters 4, 5, and 7 of Title 27 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.
C. For purposes of this Section, “casino games, gaming devices, or slot machines ” means a game or device, as defined in R.S. 27:44(10) or (12), 205(12) or (13), or 353(14) operated on a riverboat, at the official gaming establishment, or at a pari-mutuel wagering facility which offers live horse racing which is licensed for operation and regulated under the provisions of Chapters 4, 5, and 7 of Title 27 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.
D. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars and may be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.