(The Center Square) – All Louisiana casinos grossed less money in August than in August 2019, according to the latest revenue report released Thursday.
Every casino but one made less money last month than the previous month. Although the state-owned casino industry has been in decline for years, some of the recent slips can be attributed to weather-related closures and COVID-19-related restrictions and concerns, officials say.
In phase 2 of the White House-approved restrictions intended to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, casinos were limited to half their normal capacity and 75% of their usual number of gambling locations. Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, said many players have been reluctant to return from the reopening of casinos, particularly older customers.
Although the state moved to Phase 3 earlier this month, Phase 2 restrictions remain in effect for casinos, which must also comply with the new restrictions that stop statewide alcohol service at 11pm. The initial phase 3 order ended the alcohol service at 10pm, but Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Thursday afternoon that he was changing his order following discussions with the Louisiana Restaurant Association.
“We are of the opinion that we have not progressed to Phase 3,” Duty told the Louisiana Gaming Control Board Thursday. “We have moved on to phase 1.75.”
Revenue for the state-owned casinos adjacent to the river fell by about 31% in August compared to August 2019. All but two properties, both in Baton Rouge, were down by double figures.
Only the Eldorado resort in Shreveport, which grew 3.3%, made more money in August than in July.
The land-based casino at Harrah’s New Orleans was down about 9% from July to August and about 49% year-on-year.