New Orleans gambling market down 31.8% in October

The New Orleans casino market continued to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and hurricanes in October, posting a 31.8% revenue drop from $47.7 million to $32.5 million.

The state’s 14 riverboat casinos, Harrah’s land-based casino and four racinos brought in $152.3 million during October, according to figures released by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. That’s down 17.8% from the $185.2 million that 15 riverboats, Harrah’s and the four racinos generated in October 2019.

New Orleans area casinos weather coronavirus pandemic, with varying results; Harrah’s takes big hit

Hurricanes were part of the reason for the big year-to-year drop. The Isle of Capri in Lake Charles remained closed after sustaining damage during Hurricane Laura in late August, and isn’t expected to host gamblers until the beginning of 2021. Hurricanes Delta and Zeta, both of which hit Louisiana in October, caused some properties in New Orleans and Lake Charles to close for a few days. Lake Charles was down 20.4% from $62.7 million in 2019 to $49.9 million.

Video poker revenue was up 8.8% statewide in October to $54.6 million from $50.2 million. The increase happened even though video poker revenue from bars was down by 33.4%. Revenue from video poker truck stops, which account for the largest share of machines, was up 20.1%.

Harrah’s, which has been hard hit by the loss of tourism caused by the pandemic, saw its winnings plunge by 39.2% from $22.9 million to $13.9 million.

The three New Orleans area riverboat casinos posted a combined 24.9% drop in revenue. Winnings at the Amelia Belle were down 27.1% from $3.1 million to $2.3 million. Treasure Chest had a 26.9% drop from $8.4 million to $6.1 million. Boomtown New Orleans had a 22.5% drop to $7.4 million from $9.5 million.

The slots at the Fair Grounds race track dropped by 24.5% to $2.8 million from $3.7 million in winnings posted in October 2019.

The three riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge brought in nearly $18.3 million in October, a nearly $49,000 decrease from the $18.3 million in winnings during October 2019. L’Auberge Baton Rouge posted $12.9 million in winnings, a 7.3% increase over its $12 million a year earlier. Hollywood Casino brought in $4.1 million, a 3% drop from the $4.3 million. The Belle of Baton Rouge, which has closed its hotel for renovations, posted a 39.1% drop in revenue from $2.1 million to $1.2 million.

In other markets, Shreveport-Bossier City posted $46.3 million in revenue, an 8% drop from $50.3 million, despite having one less casino due to the closure of DiamondJacks. Acadiana, represented by the slots at Evangeline Downs, was down 24.5% from $6.3 million to $5.3 million.

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