Casino winnings in New Orleans fell by 13.5 percent in December, making it the Louisiana gambling market to post the biggest year-to-year decrease in revenue.
The three riverboats, slots at the Fair Grounds and the Harrah’s land-based casino brought in $48.3 million, according to figures released Thursday by Louisiana State Police. That compares with nearly $55.9 million in winnings during December 2014.
Business at Harrah’s, which has been hit hard by the city’s smoking ban, was down more than 27 percent year to year. The casino brought in $22 million in December, compared with $30.3 million in December 2014.
Harrah’s warned New Orleans officials that the ban on smoking could cause a 20 percent drop in business because of gamblers needing to step away from slot machines and table games to have a cigarette.
The only New Orleans-area gambling establishments to see increased revenue in December were two Jefferson Parish riverboats, where smoking is still allowed. Treasure Chest in Kenner had $8.7 million in December, up 8.8 percent from the $8 million that was won in December 2014. Boomtown New Orleans, which is located in Harvey, had a 5.7 percent revenue increase to nearly $10 million from $9.4 million in December 2014.
Statewide, the 15 riverboats, four racetrack slots casinos and Harrah’s New Orleans brought in $217.2 million in December, a 7.5 percent drop from the December 2014 total of $234.8 million.
Casino winnings in Shreveport-Bossier City and Lake Charles all dropped year to year. Baton Rouge had a 5.8 percent gain, and Opelousas was up 1.1 percent, thanks to increased activity at Evangeline Downs racetrack.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.