The coronavirus pandemic hammered Louisiana’s gambling industry with huge financial losses, which might reach $1 billion by December. Nearly 5,000 casino employees lost their jobs.
All Gambling Segments Report Losses Due to Covid-19
Louisiana’s gaming industry finished 2020 with great financial losses due to the forced closures for almost two months, and the ongoing measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
According to figures from the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the state reported around $830 million decrease in revenue through November 2020 and at least 4,790 lay-offs at some point during the year. It is possible that this figure will reach $1 billion for the whole 2020 compared to last year.
The effect of the pandemic was felt by many other industries as well with restaurants, bars, hotels, movie theaters, and other venues having suffered millions in losses. Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty said for Radio.com that the estimated loss in taxes was $100 million.
Through November, Louisiana’s video gaming, racetrack slot machines, land-based casinos and riverboat casinos altogether lost over $829.7 million in revenue year-over-year. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board’s revenue reports exclude Indian casinos.
Video gaming terminals (VGTs) located in bars, restaurants, hotels, racetracks and truck stops have seen their profit drop by about $76.5 million through November — a 13.2% decrease compared to the same period in 2019.
Slot machines at racetracks reported more than 30% losses of revenue or around $98.2 million through November.
Harrah’s in New Orleans, the only land-based commercial casino in Louisiana, reopened its doors in June after Mayor LaToya Cantrell eased the pandemic restrictions. The venue was closed for more than two months and posted no revenue for April and May, which cost the business about $50 million in those two months alone. Throughout November, the casino recorded $137.2 million revenue fall in annual terms.
Riverboat casinos lost $525.7 million or about 31.6% year-on-year. The losses were concentrated in the Lake Charles area, where its three casinos combined accounted for more than half of the total decrease or $218.7 million.
Venues Were Forced into Mass Lay-Offs
Nearly 5,000 employees from the casino industry lost their jobs throughout the year with fourteen different venues filing Wage Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notices to reel from the effect of the coronavirus.
Horseshoe Entertainment in Bossier City was on top of the list eliminating 978 positions on March 31. Sam’s Town in Shreveport dismissed 414 workers, Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner laid off 340 employees, Amelia Belle Casino in Amelia laid off 170 workers and these are only a small part of the operators forced to reduce their workforce in order to survive the crisis.