It has been a long and rough year for the casino industry in Louisiana, and this time Mother Nature was the cause of the problem, not a global pandemic. Impending hurricanes forced almost every casino in the state to shut their doors last week, but the industry is now back up and running once again.
As of Saturday, the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, Louisiana was the only casino that was still closed from storm damage. Isle of Capri is expected to reopen next week, and the state is hopeful that there will be no more closures in 2020.
The Golden Nugget and L’Auberge hotel-casinos both reopened this week in Lake Charles, as that was one of the areas affected by the storms. The Delta Downs Racetrack near the Texas border has also reopened its doors to the general public.
Hurricane Delta reached shore on October 9, bringing with it winds that gusted over 100 miles per hour. Hurricane Delta was on a similar path to another hurricane that devastated the area just six weeks earlier.
Hotels and casinos were shut down as a precaution, but none of the casinos in the state reported any significant damage this time around. Casinos that were located in Baton Rouge and New Orleans were also shut down as a precaution, even though the storm did little damage to this area of the state.
Even though Hurricane Delta caused little damage to casinos in the Lake Charles area, that wasn’t the case when Hurricane Laura hit. Laura was a category four hurricane that brought wind speeds of more than 150 mph to the area.
Hurricane Laura caused a number of casinos to close for repairs, and most of those properties had just reopened before having to shutter up to prepare for Hurricane Delta.
Record-Breaking Hurricane Season
This has been a record breaking hurricane season, not just for the state of Louisiana, but for the entire United States. Hurricane Delta became the 10th storm to hit the mainland of the United States, breaking a previous record that was set back in 1916.
Hurricane Sally made landfall on September 16th near Gulf Shores, Alabama, and that storm caused significant damage to the area. A pair of riverboat casinos broke loose because of the storm’s impact, but no injuries were reported with both boats crashing into a dock.
At least a dozen casinos along the Gulf Coast were shut down as a precaution before Hurricane Sally made landfall, but there was no damage reported to any of the properties. Hurricane Sally was responsible for a pair of deaths, but these were not related to the casino industry.
Sports Betting Vote Still Upcoming
The entire gaming industry in Louisiana could see tremendous growth in 2021 if voters across the state pass a sports betting referendum. In November, voters in each of the 64 parishes throughout the state will get to decide the sports betting future for the state.
Lawmakers passed a sports betting bill earlier this year, but voters have to approve a new constitutional amendment before the industry can launch. Unlike other states that have taken a similar path, Louisiana will break the vote down by each parish.
This means that part of the state could have legalized sports betting as early as 2021, while other areas of Louisiana continue to view it as an illegal activity. Louisiana had this same process in place a few years ago, when the issue of Daily Fantasy Sports was brought up.
Lawmakers and industry experts believe that a large portion of the state will pass the referendum in November, but it’s unlikely that the entire state will see legalized sports betting in 2021.