Louisiana may be well known for Mardi Gras and amazing southern dishes in New Orleans, but the Bayou State is also known for something else: gambling. Gambling is a top industry in Louisiana, where locals and visitors alike can experience the state’s delectable meals at restaurants located in casinos, or choose to do their gambling aboard one of the state’s riverboats. Since gambling is illegal in the neighboring states of Arkansas and Texas, gambling attracts many Southerners from these areas.
It’s also easy to run afoul of the state’s gambling laws. Yes, gambling is legal in many forms in the Bayou State, but taking advantage of the people who enjoy gambling isn’t. That’s what a 43-year-old Monroe resident discovered when he was arrested last June, and charged with allegedly rigging bingo games to win more than $10,000.
If you are arrested for violating Louisiana’s gambling laws, there are defenses for your case, which is why you need to consider the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
How Did Police Make a Bust for Rigging Bingo Games?
According to the arrest report, Monroe Police say the 43-year-old man got caught on videotape at a bingo parlor manipulating a game of Bonanza Bingo, an electronic bingo game played on small paper cards. Monroe Police reported that the video showed the defendant handpicking the winning balls he wanted to play.
The defendant did this four times, police reported, and it enabled him to win thousands of dollars for three people. The video also showed two of the winners giving him money after the games were over. The defendant was arrested and charged with felony theft.
As this case demonstrates, while gambling is legal in many popular casinos, riverboats, and other establishments in Louisiana, illegal gambling — or manipulating the system to gain an unfair advantage — is not, and the law cracks down on this. That’s why it’s important to understand what you can and can’t do legally when it comes to gambling in the state.
What are the Gambling Laws in Louisiana?
While gambling is a big industry in the state, gambling establishments must be permitted and the state will decide which types of gambling are allowed and whether any restrictions on the games should apply. So far, the state allows the following types of gambling:
- Casino gambling
- Gambling on riverboats
- Gambling on commercial cruise ships that travel internationally
- Horse racing on licensed racetracks
- Pari-Mutuel wagering
- Charitable raffles, bingo, and Keno
There are also restrictions on other types of gambling, with prohibitions on:
- Dog racing
- Gambling via the Internet
- No one under age 21 can play video poker
- Casinos are only allowed in select jurisdictions
Video poker machines are available in the state at different locations, including at:
- Some restaurants
- Gas stations
- and truck stops.
If a Louisiana business has a liquor license, that usually allows the establishment to have up to three video gaming machines.
What are the Laws Regarding Bingo Games in Louisiana?
If you love playing bingo, you have plenty of options in Louisiana. The established venue must first obtain a license from the proper state regulatory agency, but it’s important to note that bingo is a popular commodity in the state, and there are well-known bingo game establishments in Baton Rouge, Boutte, Marrero, Shreveport, and Vinton.
But police also keep a close eye on these establishments and the activity going on there. In March 2019, State Police arrested six people and charged them with stealing money from a high school club’s bingo game, intended to benefit the Rayne High School FFA. The total amount stolen from the club, police report, exceeded $22,000.
If you’ve been arrested for violating the state’s gambling laws, you face penalties that can include fines and jail time. That’s why it’s important to immediately secure the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Secure Top Quality Criminal Defense in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a top source for criminal defense attorneys is the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. We have more than 25 years of experience representing ordinary citizens just like you and want to help you get your life back on the right track. It’s our mission to give you the most personalized experience possible and help you have your voice heard.
Eric Johnson is respected throughout Louisiana and is known for providing solid representation that wins cases. To schedule a free consultation regarding your case, call our office at 318-377-1555 or contact us online today. We’re here to represent you!