All You Need To Know About Riverboat Gambling

The traditional gambling variation goes way beyond land-based casinos full of different games like slot machines, video poker, roulettes, table games, etc. There were times when gambling on the sea became popular, especially among travelers. About two centuries ago, the Mississippi valley was the primary route for transportation between towns in America.

Riverboat gaming was initially started to curb the boredom that came with traveling for many hours. However, it soon became a famous means of entertainment, especially for wealthy merchants. The riverboat casinos were located on the water keep it different from the “real” land-based casinos. Although the Mississippi valley was used for economic purposes like trade within towns, these riverboat casinos also flourished.

In this article, we will be enlightening you on what exactly riverboat gambling is, how it originated, and if it’s still in existence.

What Is Riverboat Gambling?

Riverboat casinos, as the name implies, are casinos found on riverboats in mostly the Mississippi River or along the Gulf coast. Riverboat casinos are found in different states of the United States; however, it originated from the Mississippi River. This type of casino was often authorized in a bid to limit the location of land-based casinos in a specific area.

As a result, gambling on a riverboat often entails different practices when compared to a land-based casino. Sure, you can find games like American Blackjack, slots, and so many others in the casinos. However, a riverboat casino usually provides premium entertainment to its guests, such as a romantic re-enactment of specific historical fantasies. A popular one was going to colonial Williamsburg. Also, dealers, waiters, waitresses, and other staff usually dress up in 19th-century costume.

A significant reason why riverboats are in existence is the ability to sell gambling differently. Also, they are widely accepted by many skeptics of land-based casinos. According to many casino reviews, riverboat casinos are widely accepted for many reasons such as;

  • A riverboat casino doesn’t seem as permanent as a land-based casino. Hence, many people that might have a problem with regular casinos are more accepting.
  • A boat casino is considered safer because thieves, prostitutes, and other criminals are less likely to have access. The company usually provides a highly secure parking lot for its customers. After sailing away and engaging in some gaming, you can always come back with full assurance of your safety.
  • It’s more profitable for the company. Unlike land-based casinos, casino on a boat is very mobile. Although the riverboats barely leave the docks, they can be moved to another good location if necessary.

Also, you can play all of the games you would usually play in regular casinos. Check out the Tropicana Casino Review for different types of games you can enjoy regardless of location.

History Of Riverboat Gambling

Riverboat gaming first started in the 20th century in the state of Mississippi. Before this time, paddlewheel riverboats were used as the primary means for transportation of goods and people along Mississippi waters and its tributaries. This process went on for a while until different railways tracks were built. Railroads took over from riverboats, and soon, riverboats were mainly used for entertainment excursions.

Gaming on riverboats began as a by-product of boredom, as many people moved around for several hours looking for business opportunities. With many wealthy merchants traveling, it didn’t take too much time for casino riverboats to emerge. It became a way for many people to cool off, enjoy live music, dance, and gamble in table games, slot machines, etc. Although there was no Bitcoin Blackjack during this time, there were various famous games to choose from.

Riverboat casinos were first approved by states with frontage along the Mississippi river like Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi. Each state law for the approval of riverboat gambling was different; however, one of the criteria was the location. The first thing you should know is that states like Louisiana and many others hadn’t approved land-based casinos. Hence, there were limitations to gambling on the river;

  • Riverboat gaming was only approved on ships that could sail away from the dock.
  • A riverboat casino could only take place during traditional excursions while the boat was sailing.

However, as many other states such as Iowa have approved riverboat gambling, the state laws are different depending on the specific state.

Some of them include;

  • A riverboat casino has to be modeled after a nineteenth-century riverboat or a cruise ship design in Louisiana. This is usually done to evoke the earlier riverboat transportation while gambling.
  • The state of Louisiana also requires the gambling boats to be paddle wheeled.
  • Each riverboat is allowed to have not more than 1,200 gaming stations within it. The least number is 400. The gaming stations allow passengers to place wagers for table games such as learning how to play RNG Blackjack.
  • In many states, gambling boats are required to hold a capacity of at least 400 passengers. Indiana and Louisiana allow at least 500 and 600 people on a river casino, respectively.
  • The wagering limit per bet or trip is also one of the many criteria for approving riverboat gambling. For instance, in Iowa, passengers are allowed a $5 limit per bet and $200 loss per player. It is also essential to check if the cost of a professional gambler salary alters the law.
  • A time restraint is also an active part of the laws. Since many states allow gambling during an excursion, the gambling time also falls within that duration. For some states, it is four hours and thirty minutes before and after the trip. The aim is majorly to sell the casino as an excursion trip, instead of a gambling cruise.

If the riverboat casinos were allowed to sail whenever they please, it would be closer to land-based casinos. This is because passengers can come and go as they please. Nevertheless, riverboat casinos can switch locations if they find a new location more profitable than the previous.

List Of Riverboat Casinos Today

These casinos are only open to passengers over 21 years and those present in the casino. Slot machines are usually one of the first and famous game options. However, video poker is another favorite for many.

If you’re thinking about checking out a gambling boat, here’s a list of some of that are still available today;

The Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, Illinois)

First on our list is the Grand Victoria casino. Located on the Fox River in Elgin, Illinois, this casino is the top generating casino in Illinois and is famous for its outreach programs. It offers its passengers 1,100 video poker, slot machines, and over 36 table games.

The Amelia Belle (Amelia, L.A)

The Amelia Belle is located in the Avoca island cut off waterway, between Morgan city and Huoma, L.A.

Boyd Gaming owns it; this riverboat gambling casino offers four floors of absolute fun and games such as three card poker, Mississippi Stud, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.

It also offers a regular giveaway of $10,000 and a jackpot of $777.

Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall (Shreveport, Louisiana)

Sam’s Town Hotel and gambling hall bring Vegas to the south with its progressive slots, fine dining, and luxurious spa & wellness treatments. Every slot offers you a chance to win a jackpot of $90,000. You can also play other games such as Craps No More, Let It Ride, and Mini Baccarat.

This fabulous riverboat also offers you premium entertainment and relaxation in the form of luxury spas, manicure, pedicure, saunas, and delicious meals.

Hollywood Casino (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

Located on the Mississippi river banks right from the state capitol building, the Hollywood Casino offers players classic slot games, poker, card games, etc. They also host exciting slot tournaments, lucky draw match games, and exciting giveaways.

You can enjoy some of the finest meals at their collection of restaurants, such as the Epic Buffet and Celebrity Grill.

Other gambling casinos you can check out are;

  • Treasure Chest (Kenner, Louisiana)
  • Isle of Capri (Lake Charles, Louisiana)
  • Casino Queen In Marquette (Marquette, Iowa)


Riverboat gaming has been in existence since the 20th century. Although the popularity of boats casino has been reduced because of digital casinos’ rapid development, it is a fun and fantastic experience every gaming fanatic should have. Be sure to check out the state laws before you visit any of the river casinos mentioned above.


Why Is Riverboat Gambling Legal?

Riverboat gambling is legal in states where land-based casinos are prohibited because it is only allowed while sailing. Hence, it isn’t breaking any laws, as it isn’t on land.

Do River Cruises Have Gambling?

Many river cruises have gambling. However, a lot of them are only operational during an excursion. Nevertheless, there are a few that are stationary and never leave the dock.

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