The restrictions that Louisiana casinos and racinos have faced for a year because of COVID-19 are gradually fading away. That has led to revenues coming back strong.
The state’s gaming facilities combined to bring in more than $320.5 million in revenue for April, a 3.5% increase over March’s total of nearly $310 million.
All four segments of Louisiana’s gaming revenue increased in April compared to March, according to figures reported on Monday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. That March figure was a 51% increase over February, reflecting the fact that Louisiana’s gaming facilities are starting to return to pre-pandemic levels of activity and income.
The largest percentage increase in revenue came at the state’s lone land-based casino, Harrah’s Casino New Orleans. The monthly revenue there increased 11.7%, from $22.4 million in March to $25.1 million in April.
At Louisiana’s 13 operational riverboat casinos, the combined revenue increased to $175.8 million in April from $168.2 million in March, a 4.5% boost.
The other two categories had nearly identical numbers between March and April. Louisiana’s 12,000-plus video gaming terminals collected a combined total of $84,693,539, or $17,982 more than in March. And the state’s racinos (slot machines at four race tracks) made a combined $34.943 million in April, about $540,000 more than in the previous month.
Louisiana Casino Association executive director Wade Duty told nola.com that it will take some time to get gaming machines and tables back to full use even after Gov. John Bel Edwards ended occupancy limits on casinos (and many other businesses) on March 31.
New Orleans released new guidelines regarding coronavirus-related restrictions on May 15, stating among other things that fully vaccinated individuals in the city were no longer required to wear masks. Casinos statewide can now run at full occupancy.
The process of implementing Louisiana sports betting is ongoing, months after voters in 55 of the state's 64 parishes approved a ballot measure to permit wagering on sporting events.
This month, the Louisiana House passed a measure to authorize the Louisiana Lottery to conduct sports betting in the state. The Senate must now tackle the measure.
The bill, HB687, states that retail establishments with sports betting kiosks will pay 10% tax and mobile platforms will have a 15% tax levied. Louisiana will issue 20 licenses among 15 casinos and five racinos.