Revenue at Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos were down by 11.7% in August compared to a year ago, the best performance of any of the state’s gambling markets during a month marred by Hurricane Laura and continuing restrictions on the number of customers.
The three riverboats brought in $17.8 million in winnings in August, compared to $20.1 million in August 2019, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
The state’s 14 riverboat casinos, Harrah’s land-based casino and four racinos brought in nearly $148.6 million during August. That’s down 31.7% from the $217.7 million that 15 riverboats, Harrah’s and four racinos generated in August 2019.
Video poker revenue was up 2.6% statewide in August to $53.5 million from $52.1 million. The increase happened even though video poker revenue from bars and hotels was down by more than 70%. Bars were shut down during August as part of an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. Gov. John Bel Edwards announced last week bars in a handful of parishes will be allowed to reopen, when they get parish approval.
Louisiana casinos have been operating at 50% capacity since they were allowed to reopen in May. Hurricane Laura shut down operations at the Lake Charles casinos on Aug. 25, two days before the storm made landfall.
L’Auberge Lake Charles, Golden Nugget Lake Charles and Delta Downs have all reopened in the past week after being shut because of damage caused by the powerful hurricane. The Isle of Capri, which had its gambling barge break loose and its land-based casino under construction get damaged in the storm, isn’t set to open until the beginning of 2021.
Casino winnings in Lake Charles were down 34.2% to $53.1 million in August from $80.7 million a year ago.
Hollywood Casino, which recently announced plans to move onto land by February 2022, had the best performance of any Baton Rouge casino in August. The property brought in nearly $4.4 million, down 3.3% from the $4.5 million a year ago.
L’Auberge Baton Rouge brought in $12.1 million, down 11.7% from the $13.2 million. The Belle of Baton Rouge saw it winnings plunge by 47.2% from $2.4 million to $1.2 million.
The New Orleans casino market was down 36.3% in August to $32.2 million from $50.5 million the year before.
Harrah’s, which has been hard hit by the loss of tourism caused by the pandemic, saw its winnings drop by nearly half to $11.8 million from $23.3 million. The slots at the Fair Grounds racetrack was down by 16.9% to $3 million from $3.7 million. Boomtown New Orleans saw its winnings fall 21.2% from $10.1 million to $8 million. Treasure Chest fell 26.3% to $6.9 million from $9.4 million. The Amelia Belle was down 39.4% from $4 million to $2.4 million.
In other markets, revenue in Acadiana, represented by the slots at Evangeline Downs, was down 20.4% from $7 million to $5.6 million. Shreveport-Bossier City, which has one less casino than a year ago because DiamondJacks closed, was down 32.7% from $59.3 million to $40 million.