Coronavirus closures cause New Orleans casino revenue to drop 60.8% in March

Friday 24th April 2020

Casino winnings in the New Orleans gambling market were down 60.8% in March from a year ago, as mid-month closures of the state's gambling halls were imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state's 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos and land-based casino brought in $97.1 million during March, a 60.6% drop from the $246.3 million the properties brought in during March 2019, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Video poker revenue held up slightly better, dropping by 47.1% from $60.8 million to $23.4 million.

The casinos have been shut down since March 17, as part of a measure signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards aimed at reducing the spread of the pandemic. A few days before Edwards issued the order, concerts and special events at gambling halls started getting postponed or canceled. The governor has said he will review his stay-at-home order before it expires May 1.

The Crescent City gambling market saw its revenue drop from $59.9 million to $23.5 million.

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Harrah's land-based casino had the biggest drop in revenue, by 63.9% from $29 million to $10.5 million. The slots at the Fair Grounds racetrack saw the smallest decrease, at 51.6% from $4.6 million to $2.2 million.

The market's three riverboats had a 59% decrease in revenue to $10.8 million from $26.3 million. The Amelia Belle in Amelia was down 63.3% to $1.6 million; Treasure Chest, down 58.9% to $4.2 million; and Boomtown New Orleans, down 57.6% to almost $5 million.

Winnings collectively at Baton Rouge's three riverboats plummeted from $23.6 million to $10 million. L'Auberge, which has the biggest share of the market, saw the steepest decline, falling 58.1% to $6.1 million from $14.7 million. Revenue at the Belle of Baton Rouge, the oldest riverboat in the city, was down by 57.2% from $3.2 million to $1.4 million. Hollywood Casino fared slightly better than any riverboat in the market; it was down 56.3% to $2.5 million from $5.7 million.

In other markets, casino revenue at Lake Charles' three riverboats and slots at the Delta Downs racetrack was down by 61.6% to $33.6 million. Shreveport-Bossier City, which has the most riverboats of any market along with the Harrah's Louisiana Downs track, was down 60.4% to $26.9 million. Acadiana, which is represented by the Evangeline Downs racetrack, was down 49.3% to $3.1 million.

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