After an encouraging start to 2021 in January, Louisiana experienced a step backward in February, with revenues from the state’s casinos and racinos declining more than 13% from the month before.
The combined revenue from riverboat and land-based casinos, video gaming and racinos (slots at racetracks) in Louisiana for February was $204.7 million. That was down 13.2% from January, when the combined revenue was $235.8 million.
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The only category of Louisiana gaming to see a revenue increase from January to February was the land-based casino at Harrah’s New Orleans. That was notable because that was the only category of Louisiana gaming to decline from January to December. In February, Harrah’s had $15.76 million in gross gaming revenue, a 6.1% rise from the $14.85 million in January.
Last month’s revenue at Harrah’s was 41% lower than the $26.59 million in February 2020. That, of course, was the last full month before the coronavirus epidemic struck, closing casinos across the country.
At Louisiana’s 12,000-plus video gaming terminals, revenue fell from $61.26 million to $53.59 million, a 12.5% decline from January to February, according to figures posted by the state Gaming Control Board. The year-over-year numbers were down a bit as well, from $54.94 million in February 2020.
The biggest month-to-month decline was at racinos — again an interesting comparison because that was the sector which increased the most between December and January. Revenue hit $22.94 million combined from the state’s four racinos in February, 15.5% lower than the $27.14 million in January. That February number was also down 24.5% from February 2020.
Riverboat casinos dipped about 15%, from $132.57 million to $112.39 million. The year-over-year comparison told a similar tale, down 14.7% from the February 2020 total of $155.48 million in revenue.
There were three fewer days in February than January, a fact reflected in declines for both sports betting and casino gaming in month-over-month comparisons nationwide. And not all Louisiana riverboat casinos were open each day in February.
Speaking of sports betting, while North Carolina went live this week (granted, only in person at two remote tribal casinos in the western part of the state), Louisiana continues to wait.
The state’s voters overwhelmingly approved adding sports betting to Louisiana’s wagering options — a referendum approving sports betting passed in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes in November 2020 — but getting the practice implemented could take a while. The legislature must set the groundwork for sports betting and it does not begin meeting this year until April.