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Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge opened a 352-square-foot covered designated area for smokers, with 15 slot machines, fans and lighting, to comply with an East Baton Rouge Parish ban on smoking inside casinos. The smoking ban went into effect June 1. 

While casino revenues rose statewide, Baton Rouge's three riverboat casinos saw their winnings drop 15.6 percent in June, the same month the citywide ban on smoking in most public places took effect.  

The state's 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos and land-based Harrah's casino took in nearly $224.5 million in winnings during June, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. That was up 5.3 percent from the $213.1 million in June 2017. Video poker revenue was up 4.7 percent to $49.2 million from $47 million.

Casino officials had warned that the local riverboats could see a 10 to 15 percent drop in revenue as a result of the ban on smoking.

Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge, which opened a covered smoking area with 15 slot machines in advance of the ban, had the smallest drop in winnings, 11.9 percent to $4.9 million from nearly $5.6 million during June 2017.

The Belle of Baton Rouge, the oldest riverboat in the city, had the biggest drop in winnings to $4.0 million from $5.3 million in June 2017.

L'Auberge Baton Rouge, the biggest casino in the market, had a 13.2 percent drop in winnings to $13.1 million from $15.1 million. The Belle and L’Auberge did not set up smoking areas with slot machines. Officials with L’Auberge have said they are considering opening up such an area.

New Orleans saw its casino revenues rise by 6.9 percent to nearly $51.3 million. The Crescent City's three riverboats had a 7.3 percent gain to $23.8 million. Harrah’s had a 6.3 percent gain to $23.7 million. The Fair Grounds race track was up 9.1 percent to $3.7 million.

In other markets, the biggest gain was in Lake Charles, where revenue at the three riverboats and Delta Downs racetrack was up by 11.3 percent to $83.6 million. Shreveport-Bossier City, which has the most riverboats of any market along with the Harrah's Louisiana Downs track, was up 6.5 percent to $60.3 million. In Acadiana, represented by the slots at Evangeline Downs, revenue dipped 0.2 percent to $7.3 million.


Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.