Baton Rouge casino revenues down 16.6% in November, but that’s good enough to lead state | Business

Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos combined saw a 16% drop in winnings during November when compared to the year before, but that was good enough to be the best performance of any of the state’s gambling markets.

The 13 riverboat casinos, Harrah’s land-based casino and four racinos brought in $151.8 million during November, according to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. That’s down 25.9% from the $204.7 million that 15 riverboats, Harrah’s and the four racinos generated in November 2019.

Along with casino capacity capped at 50% in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, consumer fears about the rising number of cases, November’s numbers were hurt by a tough year-to-year comparison. There were five weekends in November 2019, compared to four this year.

Video poker revenue was up 2.9% statewide in November to $52.9 million from $54.6 million. The increase happened even though video poker revenue from bars was down by 32% and 14.5% from restaurants. Revenue from video poker truck stops, which account for the largest share of machines, was up 12.3%

The three riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge brought in $15.8 million in November, compared to $18.8 million in November 2019.

L’Auberge Baton Rouge posted $11 million in winnings, an 11.8% decrease over its $12.4 million a year earlier.

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Hollywood Casino brought in $3.7 million during the month, a 15.5% drop from $4.3 million a year ago. The Belle of Baton Rouge, which has closed its hotel for renovations, posted a 43.7% drop in revenue from $2 million to $1.1 million. Casino Queen, a Midwest riverboat casino operator, has announced plans to buy both the Belle and Hollywood.

The New Orleans casino market saw its revenue drop by 36.5% in November from $50.8 million to $32.3 million.

Harrah’s, which has been hard hit by the loss of tourism caused by the pandemic, saw its winnings plunge by 43.5% from $26.1 million to $14.7 million. Plans were announced last week for a $325 million renovation that will transform the Canal Street casino to Caesars New Orleans.

The three New Orleans area riverboat casinos posted a 29.3% drop in revenue. Boomtown New Orleans had a 23.7% drop to $7 million from $9.2 million. Winnings at the Amelia Belle were down 33% from $3.1 million to $2.1 million. Treasure Chest had a 33.9% drop from $8.5 million to $5.6 million.

The slots at the Fair Grounds racetrack dropped by 27.8% to almost $2.8 million compared to the $3.8 million in winnings posted in November 2019.

In other markets, Acadiana, represented by the slots at Evangeline Downs, was down 19.9% from $6.5 million to $5.2 million. Lake Charles was down by 22.2%, from nearly $74 million to $57.5 million. The Isle of Capri in Lake Charles remained closed after sustaining damage during Hurricane Laura in late August. The Isle told the Louisiana Workforce Commission this month it will temporarily furlough 336 employees beginning February 1, because it doesn’t plan on reopening until spring 2022.

Shreveport-Bossier City posted $41 million in revenue, a 25% drop from nearly $54.7 million. The market has one less casino due to the closure of DiamondJacks earlier this year.

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