Recent numbers revealed by the Louisiana regulator outlined a revenue drop of 36.3% for New Orleans in August. The casino industry in the Pelican State took a heavy hit from the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Laura.
A 36.3% Gambling Revenue Drop in New Orleans for August
Numbers released recently by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board revealed that the gambling revenue plummeted this August when comparing figures from August 2019. A staggering drop in revenue with 36.3% was observed in the New Orleans casino market. This is the biggest revenue drop recorded in any U.S. state. The factors which mainly contributed towards the staggering revenue drop statewide this August were:
- The restricted capacity of 50% for casino operators
- The shutdown introduced due to the Hurricane Laura
- The disrupted tourism because of the COVID-19 pandemic
The three Riverboat casinos, Harrah’s land-based casino, and the Fair Ground racetrack slot games raised a total of $32.2 million in revenue this August. This is a little more than half of what they made back in August 2019, which was $50.5 million. In August last year, the four racinos, Harrah’s and Louisiana’s 14 Riverboat casinos raised $217.7 million in revenue. In contrast, this year, the same venues collectively raised $148.6 million.
Pelican State Operators Impacted by the Disrupted Tourism and Hurricane Laura
In an interview for WWL Radio, the Louisiana Casino Association executive director Wade Duty commented on the subject. She said: “Many of our other amenities are closed or severely restricted because of public health concerns so overall revenue is down even greater than that one-third decrease in gaming revenue.” Furthermore, Duty outlined that operators such as Golden Nugget, L’Auberge, and Delta Downs have reopened but are facing difficulties due to limited staff and because of the damage by Hurricane Laura.
Elsewhere in the Pelican State, the casino revenue in Lake Charles reached only $53.1 million. This marks a decrease of 34.2%, as numbers from last year August showed revenue of $80.7 million. Casino winnings at Boomtown New Orleans also plummeted with 21.2% from $10.1 million to $8 million.
Furthermore, the disrupted tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected greatly Harrah’s revenue. This led to a revenue drop of nearly 50%, down to $11.8 million from $23.3 million for August.
The Industry Faces Difficult Recovery
In contrast with the plummeting revenue results, the revenue for video poker in the Pelican State marked a slight increase. Numbers by the Louisiana regulator revealed that video poker revenue in August hit $53.5 million, up 2.6% from $52.1 million last year. This is a positive result, given that the overall gambling revenue is down.
And while a cure for COVID-19 remains in limbo, multiple industries in the U.S. are yet to begin recovering from the devastating hit by the pandemic. But as soon as the country shakes off the pandemic, the affected industries, including the gambling industry will start recovering. Once this happens, the industry will undoubtedly aid the local governments by adding fresh gambling tax revenue to each state’s coffers.