The numbers are in for Louisiana’s casino revenue for the month of September, and they’re up 2.3 percent compared to the same month last year. The Baton Rouge gambling market, however, reported that their year-on-year revenue declined by 20.7 percent.
There are four racinos, one land-based casino, and 15 riverboat casinos in the state. According to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, all together they took in almost $206 million in September, compared to $201.3 million last September.
Despite the overall increase in revenues from the state as a whole, the three riverboats in Baton Rouge had a 20.7 percent drop in winnings reported compared to September 2017, from $23.4 million to almost $18.6 million. These riverboats haven’t experienced a gain in year-to-year revenue in 14 months, not since August 2017.
Of the three, the biggest loser was the Belle of Baton Rouge. This is the city’s oldest casino and in September 2018, only brought in $2.8 million compared to $4.2 million in September of last year, a 33.2 percent decrease.
Coming in second was Hollywood Baton Rouge, down from $5.3 million in September 2017 to $4.2 million in September this year, a 21.3 percent drop.
L’Auberge Baton Rouge reported revenue at $13.9 million compared to $11.5 million year-over-year, for a total decline of 16.7 percent.
The casino winnings reported for September 2018 were also down: Harrah’s reported a 5.5 percent drop. Put together, all the casinos in New Orleans saw winnings go down by three percent.
The Fair Grounds racetrack’s winnings went down 3.9 percent to $3.3 million compared to $3.4 million from September 2017.
Slots at Boomtown New Orleans, Amelia Belle, and the Treasure Chest riverboat casinos were down by a total of $3,000 from September 2017 for a total of $22.03 million. Boomtown went up 4.4 percent and the Amelia Belle went up 3.5 percent. The Treasure Chest was the only one to see a drop, by 5.9 percent.
The Lake Charles gambling venues reported a 16.7 percent increase in their winnings, which isn’t surprising; Hurricane Harvey had a negative impact on these venues in August and September 2017 due to the damage done in Houston, which is a big feeder market for those casinos. These casinos now seem to be recovering.
As of right now, daily fantasy sports, or DFS, are illegal in Louisiana. That could change on November 6th since voters will get a chance to consider whether DFS should be legalized. A proposed amendment to the gambling legislation will allow voters to decide on House Bill 484, parish by parish. Each parish will decide whether to approve daily fantasy sports betting, or not. It will be classified as a game of skill and thus overseen by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
FanDuel, the daily fantasy sports provider, has an advocacy group in Louisiana to help lobby for legalization. The DFS provider made a $154,000 contribution to Fairness for Fantasy Sports in September.
Those against the idea of bringing in daily fantasy sports to Louisiana are concerned that adding yet another method of gambling would cause an increase in problem gambling. These concerns were addressed by Janet Miller, the executive director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling. Miller said that daily fantasy sports betting isn’t any more addictive than slot machines or the lottery.
Mississippi was able to anticipate that the Supreme Court would overturn the federal ban on sports betting, and had already approved sports betting in its casinos when the decision came in May. Despite a proposed bill by Senator Danny Martini (R-Metairie), Louisiana did not have any legislation to allow it, and now the soonest it might do so is in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, any Louisiana residents and visitors hoping to place legal sports bets will be traveling to Mississippi with their gambling money. This loss of revenue has inspired some political leaders to push for legalized sports betting within Louisiana.
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