March was a very profitable month for Louisiana’s gaming industry as the recovery from a rough 2020 continued to pick up pace.
The combined revenue from riverboat and land-based casinos, video gaming and racinos (slots at racetracks) in Louisiana for March was $309.7 million. That was a 51.3% increase from the statewide total in February of $204.7 million.
Gaming establishments in New Orleans alone brought in $51.6 million for the month, 119% higher than the same month in 2020, according to a NOLA.com article.
Year-over-year comparisons were bound to be favorable because, like casinos around the nation, coronavirus-related protocols meant that all Louisiana gambling facilities closed on March 17, 2020. They remained shuttered for about two months.
In all four categories, revenue more than doubled in March 2021 compared to 12 months earlier. The biggest jump in year-over-year numbers came at video poker machines, where the net dev revenue was just $32.2 million in March 2020, according to numbers reported by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Last month that number was to $84.7 million, a 163.1% jump in a year-over-year comparison.
The largest growth in month-over-month revenue came at the state’s 12,000-plus video gaming terminals. That sector jumped from $53.6 million in February to $84.7 million in March, a 58% rise.
The four Louisiana racinos increased 50%, from $22.9 million to $34.4 million. The revenue at riverboat casinos was $168.2 million in March, up 49.7% from February’s $112.4 million. And the land-based casino at Harrah’s New Orleans saw its revenue jump 42.5%, from $15.67 million to $22.45 million.
The Louisiana legislature is beginning the process of implementing sports betting in the state. Voters in 55 of the 64 parishes in the Bayou State approved of sports betting in November 2020. Senate President Page Cortez said this month that he will propose mobile sports betting be included for the state — a smart move considering the success of Tennessee’s mobile-only market right out of the blocks.
Louisiana does not have the population base of Tennessee (4.6 million compared to nearly 7 million) but those states share some similarities apart from Deep South geography: Football, both of the NFL and SEC variety, is king in both states and both states receive plenty of visitors. Louisiana has the advantage of existing casinos (Tennessee is online only because it has no casinos) and a longstanding gaming culture.
When the Louisiana sports betting market matures in a couple of years, the positive financial comparisons and year-over-year increases of March 2021 are undoubtedly going to be repeated,