Hurricane Ida Drives Louisiana August Casino Numbers Down
The numbers for Louisiana gaming were down across the board in August because of one very big culprit: Hurricane Ida.
The Category 4 storm, which made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29 before moving on to cause major damage in other parts of the country, led to many Louisiana casinos and race tracks being closed for at least three days during the month.
The four segments of Louisiana gaming combined for $214.8 million in revenue in August, down 27.4% from the $295.9 million recorded in July.
The Louisiana casino and racino numbers have been bouncing up and down all year, according to reports from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The best month of 2021 so far in the state was April, when revenues exceeded $320 million.
Breakdown of Louisiana August Revenue
The 13 riverboat casinos combined to be the top segment of Louisiana gambling as usual, pulling in $119 million for August. That was a decline of almost $45 million from the $163.8 million in July. The Amelia Belle, Boomtown New Orleans and Treasure Chest casinos missed out on four days because of Hurricane Ida. Three Baton Rouge facilities – the Belle, Hollywood and L’Auberge – were closed for three days.
Baton Rouge casinos were also hard hit last year when two hurricanes struck the area in late summer. That was on top of the impact caused when casinos closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also, the Isle Lake Charles riverboat casino, closed since taking hurricane damage in 2020, will reopen in 2022 as a land-based casino.
Attendance was surely affected by more than just the hurricane-related closures as well – total admissions at Louisiana riverboat casinos fell from about 1.4 million in July to 1 million in August.
Video Gaming, Racino Numbers
Video gaming devices accounted for $58.57 million in revenue for August, a drop of more than $15 million (20.8%) from the $73.95 million for the previous month.
The state’s quartet of racinos (horse racing tracks that have slots) accounted for $23.55 million in August revenue, down 27.3% from July’s total of $32.4 million.
Louisiana’s only land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans, had the steepest month-over-month decline, thanks in large part to the fact that it was closed for three days. Harrah’s drew $25.7 million in July, but that fell to $13.7 million in August, a 46.9% decline.
As for sports betting, the LGCB approved emergency measures covering licensing and application forms on Aug. 18. But there is still no set timetable to adopt legal sports betting in the Bayou State, where voters in 55 of 64 parishes approved of its legalization last year in a referendum.
Jim Tomlin has more than 30 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times, SaturdayDownSouth.com, SaturdayTradition.com and FanRag Sports. He now lends his expertise to TopUSCasinos.com, among other duties.