Battered by Hurricane Ida, New Orleans casinos made less money combined in August than the same month one year earlier.
New Orleans-area casinos brought in $30.5 million this year in August, according to nola.com. In August 2020, the same properties won $32.2 million from gamblers, a 5.3 percent decline.
These properties include three riverboat casinos, the Harrah’s land-based resort in downtown New Orleans, and the Fair Grounds — a Crescent City horse track with slot machines.
In late August, casinos in Southeast Louisiana began closing, as powerful Hurricane Ida barreled toward the state.
Packing sustained winds of 150 mph, Ida slammed into Louisiana at Port Fourchon, south of New Orleans, on Aug. 29. It was the fifth-strongest hurricane ever to hit the mainland US.
The destructive storm knocked out power across the region and destroyed homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast. It killed dozens of people as it plowed through the mid-South, and then swamped large states on the East Coast, including New Jersey and New York.
In South Louisiana, several casinos were closed for four days in August and remained shuttered into early September. The closures lasted up to 10 days after the hurricane came ashore.
Before closing, Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino had a strong enough month to come out better than the previous August by 16 percent. Harrah’s is the state’s only land-based commercial casino. Its revenue went from $11.8 million in August 2020 to $13.7 million last month.
While Harrah’s had a better August this year, the other gaming properties in the New Orleans area saw steep declines.
The largest percentage falloff came at the Amelia Belle near Morgan City. That riverboat casino went from $2.4 million in August 2020 to $1.7 million last month, a decline of 32.1 percent.
Because casinos were closed into early September this year, some revenue totals for that month could be lower than in September 2020. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will release those results in October.
Capital City Wins Decline
Two of the three riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge also experienced a decline in revenue in August 2021, compared to the same month one year earlier.
L’Auberge Casino Hotel won $10.9 million this August, or 10.5 percent less than the August 2020 total of $12.1 million.
The Belle of Baton Rouge went from $1.2 million in August 2020 to $1 million last month, a decline of 16.9 percent.
The third Baton Rouge riverboat, the Hollywood Casino, saw an increase of 5.2 percent, going from $4.4 million in August 2020 to $4.6 million during the same month one year later.
Overall, the capital city’s casino win fell by 7 percent.
Overall Increase Statewide
The other two large casino hubs in Louisiana did not experience the closures that Hurricane Ida caused in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The Shreveport-Bossier City totals in Northwest Louisiana went up 11.2 percent in August 2021, when compared to August 2020.
In Lake Charles, the casino win during the same period rose 11.7 percent. That increase is not surprising, as Hurricane Laura dealt a severe blow to Lake Charles in August 2020, damaging homes and businesses, including casinos.
The stronger totals in Shreveport-Bossier City and Lake Charles offset the declines in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Overall, statewide gaming revenue went from $148.6 million in August 2020 to $156.3 million last month, an increase of 5.2 percent.
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