With tourists returning, gaming revenue in New Orleans increased by 2.2 percent from April to May, according to a recent report.
New Orleans performed better than the rest of the state during May, according to nola.com. Casinos in the New Orleans area won $56.3 million in May, up from $55.1 million in April. The New Orleans-area properties include three riverboat casinos, one land-based casino in the city, and one racino.
Even though there was a small increase, New Orleans is still dealing with some pandemic restrictions. Not all of the city’s famed restaurants have reopened, capacities are still limited with vaccination requirements, and Jazz Fest, a traditionally strong draw, has been moved from its former April-May slot to October. All of that means less people available to partake in gaming.
Statewide, the gaming win declined by 3.2 percent, from $235 million in April to $228 million in May. This total includes the New Orleans-area properties, plus 10 more riverboat casinos across the state and three other racinos.
In late May, the state lifted the mandatory mask requirement and other restrictions implemented last year as COVID-19 cases began to spike. This paved the way for live entertainment to begin again in tourism-dependent New Orleans.
The big winner in the New Orleans area was the land-based Harrah’s casino. It went from $25.1 million in April to $26.8 million in May, a 6.7 percent increase. The Treasure Chest, a riverboat casino in Kenner, experienced a 3.9 percent increase, from $8.8 million in April to $9.2 million in May. The Treasure Chest is northwest of downtown New Orleans at Lake Pontchartrain.
Some results in the New Orleans area were not as positive. South of downtown, the Boomtown riverboat casino in Harvey went from $12.9 million in April to $12.5 million in May, a decline of 3.2 percent.
Wins Decline Across State
Statewide, the biggest overall percentage increase occurred at the Horseshoe riverboat casino in Bossier City. The Horseshoe’s casino win was up 8.2 percent, from $16.3 million in April to $17.6 million in May. Bossier City is in the northwestern corner of the state. It is on the east side of the Red River, across from Shreveport.
In Shreveport, the Sam’s Town riverboat casino saw an increase in its gaming win of 3.6 percent, up from $5.9 million in April to $6.1 million the next month.
The largest percentage declines in gaming wins occurred across the state. These include a falloff at the Boomtown riverboat casino in Bossier City of 9.2 percent, from $5.5 million to $5 million.
In Lake Charles, the Golden Nugget riverboat casino went from $31.8 million in April to $29.5 million in May, a decline of 7.2 percent. Lake Charles is in the southwestern part of the state.
Sports Betting Possible by Fall
Casino operators in Louisiana are hopeful that legal sports betting will boost their bottom line.
This week, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed the final bill required to allow sports betting in the 55 of 64 parishes that approved it during last November’s election. Voters in the parishes where the largest cities are located overwhelmingly approved sports betting.
Under the new law, bettors can use their smartphones in wagering on live sporting events, or can put money down inside a casino at a sportsbook. Proponents hope the licensing process will go quickly so that sports betting can begin by football season in the fall.