The four segments of Louisiana gaming – slots at racetracks, slots at other businesses, riverboat casinos and one land-based casino — combined for almost $205 million in revenue in November. That was a slight drop, about 1%, from the nearly $207 million of revenue that Louisiana took in for October.
As usual, the state’s riverboat casinos accounted for more than half of the $204,724,140 in statewide gaming revenue for November. The combined total was $206,884,750 in October. The state’s total revenue continues to be well off the pace in 2019 thanks to coronavirus-related closures and restrictions, then summer hurricanes – mostly damage from Hurricane Laura.
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The most lucrative segment of the Louisiana casino market, the riverboats, saw a very slight drop of 0.9% in November compared to October but a 23.6% decline compared to a year earlier, according to figures reported by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The 15 Louisiana riverboat casinos combined for $114.65 million in total adjusted gross revenue (AGR) in November, down nearly a million from the $115.64 million in October.
In November 2019 the figure was nearly $150 million — however, in addition to COVID-19 closures and numerous hurricanes, another reason for the year-over-year drop is the demise of the Diamondjacks casino.
The three Lake Charles casinos saw the most positive news in November, with combined AGR rising nearly 20%, from $38.4 million in October to nearly $46 million. Among the other major areas, the three Baton Rouge riverboat casinos were down a combined 13.7% from October to November, the six Shreveport/Bossier facilities combined dropped 11.5% and the three New Orleans operations fell 6.4% altogether.
The one segment that rose last month was at the state’s lone land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans Casino. There, the gross gaming revenue (GGR) rose from $13.9 million to $14.7 million, a 6% jump from October. The facility is operating at limited capacity, explaining its 43.5% year-over-year decline from the $26.1 million in revenue for November 2019.
Just like in October, video poker drew increased revenue compared to November 2019, the lone component of Louisiana gaming to do so. Machines at bars, restaurants, hotels, racetrack OTBs and truck stops combined for $52.9 million in November revenue, down 3.1% from October ($54.6 million) but up 2.9% from November 2019 ($51.4 million).
The four racetracks that offer slots (or racinos) combined for a 1.3% dip from October despite an increase at the largest facility, Delta Downs. November’s combined revenue in that category was $22.4 million, off by about $300,000 from the October total of $22.7 million. All four Louisiana racinos were off by at least 19% compared to November 2019 revenue of $28.7 million.
There is reason for bettors in Louisiana to think that 2021 will see expanded wagering options. In November, 55 of 64 parishes approved a sports betting measure that went on the ballot statewide. Louisiana sports betting isn’t imminent because the legislature, which meets again in April, must work on approving rules.
If the state’s delay in implementing daily fantasy sports is anything to go by, that might take a while. Voters in 47 parishes approved of DFS in 2018 and the process is still ongoing, though good news on that front arrived this week when lawmakers agreed on regulations. Committees in the Louisiana House and Senate unanimously passed the rules on Wednesday and the LGCB can start processing operator licenses.