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By LouisianaTravel.com Staff
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South Louisiana is steeped in the legend of Jean Lafitte and his buried treasure, but if you’re not into digging for contraband, try your luck at a casino in southwestern or central Louisiana.  One of the largest is located on Contraband Bayou in Lake Charles.  There, L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort sprawls across 227 fun-filled acres.  The shimmering, 26-story hotel complex features 30,000 square feet of gaming, 60 table games and 1,600 slot machines.  Hotel rooms include luxury suites and villas, and you’ll find an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio, a pool with a “lazy river,” a full-service salon and spa, cardio fitness center and retail stores.  Summertime brings a poolside concert series, and major headline entertainment is always on tap.

Shifting to a more Caribbean environment, try the Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel, an island-themed paradise featuring 1,800 slots and all your favorite video games, as well as nickel and penny games.  Table games include blackjack and a live poker room.  For gustatory indulgence, try Calypso's buffet or Farraddays’ Elegant Dining.  Stay and play in one of two onsite hotels, then catch live entertainment or karaoke in the Caribbean Cove Lounge.  Watch for celebrity entertainment at the event center.

Louisiana boasts fabulous gaming and entertainment at several Native American-owned casino resorts.  At Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder, the 100,000-square-foot casino features thousands of slots and dozens of table games, plus a half-dozen great dining spots ranging from casual to elegant.  The Koasati Pines golf course is a hub for excellent golfing amid looking-glass lakes and rolling terrain.  And live entertainment at Coushatta Resort ranges from top national musical acts and comedians to Vegas-style shows to sporting events.

The Paragon Casino Resort, a property of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe in Marksville, features thousands of the newest slots and some 40 gaming tables, a poker room and an off-track betting parlor.  Lavish hotel accommodations include over 500 rooms and suites.  An indoor tropical pool with swim up bar, full service spa and salon, three-screen cinema, fabulous dining choices, retail shops, a championship golf course and world-class entertainment complete the resort experience.

In Charenton, the Chitimacha Tribe presents Cypress Bayou Casino/Shorty’s, with everything from live-action poker to high-stakes Indian bingo to off-track betting.  Some 1,300 slots and dozens of table games flesh out the gaming options.  Top-flight live entertainment is commonplace here, along with a host of great dining choices.

If the thrill of watching thoroughbreds is more to your taste, you can indulge yourself – and find luxurious accommodations, winning slots and off-track betting – in Opelousas or Vinton. Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino in Opelousas offers a state-of-the-art “racino” and a new one-mile oval. You’ll find a host of live-racing and off-track betting options, along with an array of slots and gaming choices, plus great dining and live entertainment year-round. Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino Hotel in Vinton presents both thoroughbred and quarter horse seasons, along with simulcast events. And of course, year-round slot and video gambling, live entertainment, dining and overnight accommodations.