Every casino market in the United States is trying to get back on its feet after closing back in March due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most casinos have opened back up over the past few months, but some are closed again as the positive case counts continue to rise in certain areas. For some, the struggle is just bringing revenues in due to lack of traffic or services. In New Orleans, the casino market remains at a decrease, with revenues down by 36.5% in November. The market earned $32.3 million, much lower than the $50.8 million earned during the same time in 2019.
Trouble with Recovery
In Louisiana, there are 13 riverboat casinos in operation. The region is also home to a Harrah’s land-based venue and four racinos. In total, $151.8 million was generated last month. Overall, this was a decrease of almost 26% when compared to the previous year’s monthly totals. At that time, there were 15 riverboats in operation though.
To try and control the virus, the casinos are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity. It seems that this decrease along with players being fearful of catching the virus, led to lower traffic last month. There were also five weekends in November 2019 and only four this year.
On the bright side, video poker revenues did increase. Statewide, the totals were up 2.9% with $54.6 million earned. The increase is impressive considering that video poker gaming in bars was down over 30% and 14% via restaurants. It seems gameplay picked up at truck stops, where the games saw an increase of 12.3%.
Individual Operator Numbers
Each casino was affected differently in November. For Harrah’s, the only land-based venue, the drop in tourism resulted in a decrease of revenues by just over 43%. The casino earned only $14.7 million instead of $26.1 million like last year.
While the casino may not be doing well, plans are in the works to upgrade the property. Caesars Entertainment recently announced that the property will be renamed Caesars New Orleans. A total of $325 million will be spent on renovations.
Riverboat casinos in New Orleans also struggled. The Treasure Chest struggled the most, dipping down 33.9%. The venue only earned $5.6 million compared to the $8.5 million from last year. The Amelia Belle dropped 33%, earning only $2.1 million. Boomtown New Orleans also struggled, but only dropped 23.7%, with $7 million in revenues.
Other markets were also affected by negative earnings. In Acadiana, the Evangeline Downs saw a dip in earnings, dropping almost 20%. They brought in only just over $5 million, instead of $6.5 million like 2019. The Lake Charles venue saw a decrease as well, going from almost $74 million to just over $57 million.
Revenues are going to remain on a decline as long as the venues are unable to increase capacity and until players feel secure in visiting. There is a vaccine out now, but it will still be many months before everyone will be able to take it. Hopefully, in time, the US will see a COVID-19 turnaround and casinos will be filled with players once again.