The New Orleans casino market saw revenue drop 36.3% in August from the year before, the biggest drop in revenue in any of the state's gambling markets during a month marred by Hurricane Laura and ongoing restrictions in the number of customers.
The three riverboats, Harrah’s land-based casino and the slots at the Fair Grounds racetrack brought in $32.2 million, compared to $50.5 million in August 2019, according to figures released by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
The state’s 14 riverboat casinos, Harrah’s and four racinos brought in $148.6 million during August. That’s down 31.7% from the $217.7 million that 15 riverboats, Harrah’s and the racinos generated in August 2019.
Louisiana casinos have been operating at 50% capacity since they were allowed to reopen in May. And Hurricane Laura shut down operations at the Lake Charles casinos on Aug. 25, two days before the storm made landfall.
L’Auberge Lake Charles, Golden Nugget Lake Charles and Delta Downs have all reopened in the past week after being shut because of damage caused by the powerful hurricane. The Isle of Capri, which had its gambling barge break loose and its land-based casino under construction get damaged in the storm, isn’t set to open until the beginning of 2021.
Casino winnings in Lake Charles were down 34.2% from $80.7 million to $53.1 million.
Video poker revenue was up 2.6% statewide in August to $53.5 million from $52.1 million. The increase happened, even though video poker revenue from bars and hotels was down by more than 70%. Bars were shut down during the month of August as part of an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced last week bars in a handful of parishes will be allowed to reopen, when they get parish approval.
Harrah’s, which has been hard hit by the loss of tourism caused by the pandemic, saw its winnings drop by nearly half to $11.8 million from $23.3 million.
The slots at the Fair Grounds racetrack held up the best of any of the Crescent City’s gambling venues. It was down by 16.9% to $3 million from $3.7 million.
Boomtown New Orleans saw its winnings fall 21.2% from $10.1 million to $8 million. Treasure Chest had a 26.3% drop to $6.9 million from $9.4 million. The Amelia Belle was down 39.4% from $4 million to $2.4 million.
Revenue at Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos were down by 11.7% in August, the best performance of any of the state’s gambling markets during the month. The riverboats brought in nearly $17.8 million, compared to $20.1 million in August 2019.
Hollywood Casino was down 3.3% to $4.4 million from the $4.5 million. L’Auberge Baton Rouge was down 11.7% to $12.1 million from $13.2 million. The Belle of Baton Rouge saw revenue plunge by 47.2% from $2.4 million to $1.2 million.
In other markets, revenue in Acadiana, represented by the slots at Evangeline Downs was down 20.4% from $7 million to $5.6 million. Shreveport-Bossier city, which has one less casino than it did a year ago because DiamondJacks closed, was down 32.7% from $59.3 million to $40 million.
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