Louisiana Casinos See Revenue Dip, New Resort to Revive Fortunes

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As the Louisiana sun began to blaze in April, the fortunes of its gaming industry cooled significantly. According to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB), the Bayou State’s riverboat properties and solid casinos saw a marked dip in revenue, grappling with a tough comparison to the same period of the previous year.

The LGCB’s report unveiled that the gross gaming revenue for the 14 casinos known as riverboat properties fell to $138.3 million, a reduction of 8.3% or $12.5 million compared to April 2023. The five riverboat casinos in the Shreveport/Bossier City space garnered $40.1 million, a 14% decline, while the ones in Lake Charles posted a total of $55 million, experiencing an 11% fall. New Orleans, with its trio of riverboat gaming centers, reported a 1% diminution to $20.1 million.

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Providing a streak of silver lining was Baton Rouge, where the three casinos accumulated a total of $23.1 million, demonstrating a 5.5% upsurge. Despite recent transitions into brick-and-mortar enterprises, The Queen Baton Rouge and Horseshoe Lake Charles continue to be classified as riverboat properties.

The state’s solitary land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans, mirrored the trend in the riverboat sector, with revenues slipping 9.4% to $19.3 million. The four racetracks Delta Downs, Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Fair Grounds also suffered a near 7% slide in slot revenues, ending up with a figure of $26.6 million.

Relative to April 2023, which had two additional weekend days, April 2024 proved to be a challenging period of comparison. Even so, the overall revenue profile of the state’s gaming industry was decidedly in the red. The riverboat gaming sector registered an 8.3% decline from the previous year, along with a 17% reduction from March when the casinos had raked in $166.2 million.

Looking forward, brighter days may be on the horizon as Louisiana’s gaming landscape prepares to welcome a fourth land-based casino. The Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana integrated resort in Bossier City is set to kickstart operations next year, replacing the former Diamond Jacks riverboat. The resort is a major investment by Cordish Companies, which plans to spend $270 million on the new facility and to hire John Chaszar, a gaming industry veteran, as executive vice president and general manager.

The Live! will come equipped with more than 1,000 slot machines, 40 live dealer table games, an in-house sportsbook, and a fully revamped 550-room hotel. Add to that a resort-style pool, a fitness center, and diverse nightlife and entertainment options. Outgoing LGCB Chair, Ronnie Johns, is hopeful that the new addition would stimulate a positive change in the Shreveport/Bossier City gaming industry, which has struggled in the aftermath of the pandemic.

For the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2023, and ended in April 2024, the riverboats of Shreveport/Bossier City have attracted more than 3.64 million patrons and reported gross gaming revenue of about $431.37 million. This was noticeably lower than figures from the same period in 2019 when the region – then with six operational casinos – saw attendance of nearly 6.39 million and took in over $523.3 million in revenue.