Casino Revenue Decrease in Louisiana Amid COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura Setbacks

The casino gaming revenue has gone down by 17.8 percent in Louisiana in October compared to the income collected same time last year. That’s a report according to the latest analysis from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The percentage fall is from data analyzed from what the 14 riverboats, four racinos, New Orleans Casino, and Harrah’s Hotel made. From all these properties, they had $152.3 million in revenue in October 2020 and $185.2 million from the same month last year.

L’auberge Baton Rouge, a Penn National Gaming assets and one of the riverboat casinos in Baton, had an increase of 7.3 percent in October. This was a slight improvement from last year where it collected $12 million. On the other hand, Lake Charles and New Orleans markets recorded a large percentage loss in gaming winnings. The two had to be closed during the hurricanes, affecting the overall revenue collection.

Ideally, the gaming revenue was down in New Orleans, from $47.7 million in October 2019 to $32.5 million this year’s October. This was a 31.8 percent drop. Lake Charles, on the other hand, dropped from $62.7 million last year to $49.9 million this year, which is a 20.4 percent decline. Although the hurricane played a part, the COVID-19 pandemic has hugely affect players’ turnout to casinos, contributing to low revenue collection.

Lake Charles Casino Is Yet to Come Back

According to Lieutenant Robert Fontenot of the State Police in Louisiana, the Isle of Capri riverboat casino is yet to reopen following the damages caused during the last summer’s hurricane. The riverboat is situated on Lake Charles in southwestern, just near the Texas border. During hurricane Laura, on August 27, 2020, the Isle of Capri riverboat was detached from the moor.

Later, the tugboat returned the floating casino to its original place. All the while, no one was hurt. Lieutenant Fontenot said that the Ceasars Entertainment owned casino is not likely to open until 2021. In fact, there is no precise date on when the casino might open and begin operations.

Hurricane Laura was a Category 4 storm and moving at 150 mph when it hit Lake Charles and the surrounding area. This one of the five hurricanes to hit Louisiana in 2020 damaged homes and businesses and killed 30 people around the area.

Six weeks later, another hurricane, delta, a Category 2 moving at 100 mph also rolled ashore, 12 miles east from where hurricane Laura had hit. Although the state may not experience another hurricane this year, the meteorologist has warned about other storms developing considering this year has had a record break in the number of hurricanes that usually happen.

Better Days Ahead for Louisiana Residents

Although the casino revenue has decreased, Louisiana residents are about to know whether betting will be limited to inside casinos or it will also be allowed on smartphones. During the last election, the residents voted to allow sports wagering. Among the 64 parishes in the state, 55 approved the bill.

As the legislature meets in April next year, they will determine the licensing and taxation issues. So if the state accepts mobile betting, residents will not have to worry about hurricanes affecting their gaming entertainment. Also, the casino revenue will not be subject to natural calamities.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.