Louisiana’s May Casino Winnings Decline

In May, for the fifth straight month, revenue at Louisiana's state-licensed casinos dropped over the prior year, from $237.1 million in May 2015 to $207.4 million—a 12.6 percent decline. Video poker revenue also fell 7.3 percent. Analysts blame the calendar and Mississippi Gulf Coast competition.

Revenue at Louisiana’s state-licensed casinos–15 riverboats, four racinos and Harrah’s New Orleans–fell for the fifth straight month in May, from 7.1 million in May 2015 to 7.4 million, a drop of 12.6 percent, according to a State Police report.

Louisiana’s 13,203 video poker machines also posted a drop of 7.3 percent from May 2015, at $47.7 million. Bars, truck stops and restaurants hosted 14,359 video machines in May 2015, and generated $51.4 million.

Spectrum Gaming Group casino analyst Joe Weinert said, “The losses in May could be from a calendar issue. There were more weekend days in May 2015 than this year.” However, Mississippi’s Gulf Coast market could be stealing business. “The Coast casinos are being marketed as a tourist destination. The newly opened Scarlet Pearl in D’Iberville has enhanced the Gulf Coast market.”

Louisiana’s largest casino market, Lake Charles, posted a 16.5 percent drop in winnings. The three riverboats and Delta Downs racino brought in $69.7 million compared with $83.4 million in May 2015. Shreveport-Bossier City dropped 13.4 percent, with the market’s six riverboat casinos and Harrah’s racino bringing in $57.8 million.

Winnings fell by 9 percent in the Baton Rouge casino market. Its three riverboat casinos brought in $23.1 million in May compared with $25.4 million in May 2015. Winnings in the New Orleans casino market fall by 6.8 percent in May to $49.4 million compared to $53 million during May 2015.

Harrah’s New Orleans, the state’s only land-based casino, has been dramatically impacted by the city’s smoking ban. Winnings there fell by 3.5 percent to $23.3 million from $24.1 million. Revenue at New Orleans area riverboats fell 11.6 percent to $22.5 million. Only the Fair Grounds racino in New Orleans brought in more money in May 2016 than a year ago. The racino’s slots generated $3.6 million in May, up 5.9 percent from $3.4 million.

In the Opelousas market, winnings from the slots casino at Evangeline Downs declined 14.5 percent from May 2015 to $7.3 million.