Casino Revenue Declines in Louisiana, But Sportsbooks Start Strong

Casino Revenue Declines in Louisiana, But Sportsbooks Start Strong
By Larry Henry

Though Louisiana’s casinos saw a dip in November revenue, the state-regulated sportsbooks took in more than $27 million during their first-ever month of business.

The November casino revenue decline came during a month with four weekends, following a five-weekend month in October.

The 13 riverboat casinos in operation statewide collected $147.56 million during November, down 2.46% from October’s $151.29 million, according to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

The state’s only land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans, also experienced a decline during the four-weekend month of November.

The New Orleans hotel-casino generated $12.69 million in November, a drop of 23.5% from October’s $16.59 million total. The downtown resort, owned by Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, is expected to be rebranded soon under the Caesars name.

Statewide video gaming terminals had $69.8 million in handle for November, down 3.5% from the $72.3 million in October. And the slots at racetracks (racinos) fell 3.6%, from $26.8 million to $25.85 million. Overall, the state’s gaming interests had $255.9 million in handle in November, down 4.2% from October’s $267 million.

Sportsbooks Revenue Tops $27M

On Oct. 31, the first two on-site sportsbooks opened at commercial casinos in the state, followed by six more throughout November. Tribal casinos opened sportsbooks earlier in the month.

Though only two of the first eight were in operation during all of November, the sportsbooks took in $27.6 million in bets combined.

After winning bettors were paid, the state’s eight sportsbooks earned $5.68 million in net revenue during November.

Ronnie Johns, chairman of the state Gaming Control Board, said he is “highly encouraged” by the sportsbook revenue during the month.

“This is a really good indication of the interest in sportsbooks in the state of Louisiana,” he said.

Since the end of November, three more sportsbooks have begun operating at Louisiana casinos or horse tracks, including Friday’s opening of a FanDuel Sportsbook at Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel in Opelousas.

Mobile Wagering Expected Within Weeks

Sports betting revenue is expected to increase in the Bayou State with the launch of mobile wagering in the coming weeks, though as of yet there are no real money online casino options in The Bayou State.

Each of the state’s 20 casino license holders is allowed two “skins,” the industry term for an online bookmaker’s web platform and accompanying smartphone app.

Johns told mobile sports betting is expected to begin by mid-January, once the license applicants have been vetted and approved. So far, 13 gaming operators have applied for a mobile sports betting license.

Governor’s Signature Legalized Sports Betting

Last summer, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law allowing sports betting in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it during the November 2020 statewide election.

During the fall, regulators established the rules and regulations to govern the industry before the first two retail sportsbooks were launched Oct. 31.



Larry Henry, a veteran print and broadcast reporter and editor, has been a political editor at the Las Vegas Sun and managing editor at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Northwest Arkansas. Larry also has worked for media outlets in other states with gaming, including Tennessee and Louisiana.

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