Louisiana Casino Revenues Dive 5.8% in JanuaryFebruary 19, 2016 1:41 pm
Louisiana’s gambling market hasn’t had the best start to 2016, with casino revenues contracting by 5.8% to $207.1 million in January, compared to the $219.9 million that was generated in the same month last year. Futhermore, every market across the state reported lower year-on-year revenues, with only a few individual casinos bucking the negative statewide trend.
The Pelican State has one land casino based in New Orleans, as well as 15 riverboat casinos, and four racetracks established throughout the regions of Baton Rouge, Shreveport-Bossier, Lake Charles, and Opelousas.
Experiencing the most dramatic fall in revenues last month was Lake Charles, Louisiana’s biggest casino market, whose three riverboats and one racetrack collected $71.3 million in January, lower by 8.9% from the $78.2 million taken in the same month last year.
Meanwhile, Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos reported $22.8 million in revenues, 1.3% less than the $23.1 million they generated in January 2015. Of the three, only the Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge was in positive territory, with its business increasing slightly by 0.2% to $5.3 million. On the flipside, the Belle of Baton Rouge was lower by 2.8% at $4.2 million, and L’Auberge Baton Rouge down 1.3% to $12.8 million.
The New Orleans market was also down by 7.1% overall, with the increase in revenues at the Boomtown New Orleans (+3.9%), Treasure Chest (+4.4%), and Amelia Belle (+3.9%) unable to offset the huge 14% fall in revenues to $22.5 million experienced at Harrah’s casino. Unlike the other venues, however, Harrah’s enforces a smoking ban which it says is chiefly responsible for the slowing down of its business.
Nevertheless, the claim has been disputed by ‘Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights’, with MPH Executive Director Cynthia Hallett stating that its impact has been largely overstated. As she explains:
“The smoke-free law is not what causes the change in revenue. It’s gaming saturation and the economy in general. When people don’t have as much discretionary income, they’re not spending it in a casino.”