Harrah’s New Orleans Casino Reports August Gaming Revenue Increase, State Riverboats Also Win

Posted on: September 20, 2019, 10:11h. 

Last updated on: September 20, 2019, 12:33h.

August was a strong month for Harrah’s New Orleans and Louisiana’s 15 riverboat casinos, as gross gaming revenue (GGR) was up across the state.

Harrah's New Orleans casino Louisiana
Business was good at Harrah’s New Orleans last month. (Image: Harrah’s New Orleans)

Harrah’s, the state’s only land-based casino, reported a GGR increase of 1.8 percent to $50.5 million. That’s a $900,000 premium on the same month in 2018.

The 15 riverboat casinos saw their gaming win jump 2.7 percent to $164.5 million – up from $160.2 million in August 2018. The statistical performances are supplied by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

August 2019 was a better comparable, as the month featured five Saturdays, typically the busiest day of the week for casinos.

As for the riverboats, the Golden Nugget Lake Charles led the way with GGR of $29.5 million. Neighbor L’Auberge Casino was a close second at $27.9 million.

Lake Charles casinos won $65.4 million in August. Shreveport/Bossier GGR totaled $55.4 million, New Orleans boats $23.5 million, and Baton Rouge $20.1 million.

Nothing Easy in Big Easy

Caesars Entertainment, parent company to Harrah’s New Orleans, reached a 30-year licensing extension deal with state lawmakers in May. Under the agreement, the casino operator will invest a minimum of $325 million in upgrades to the property during the period, and guarantee the state at least $60 million annually in tax revenue.

The City of New Orleans will receive $19.5 million over the next three years. The state will additionally collect $3.4 million in each of the 30 years for the gaming license – a total of $102 million.

That’s not all. Under the extension, Caesars Entertainment has also agreed to donate $6 million annually to New Orleans “support services,” and $3.4 million to education.

It’s a hefty licensing and tax commitment for the casino. “This deal far exceeds what any casino in the United States pays for renewal,” Caesars VP of Government Relations David Satz told lawmakers.

Finally, Caesars doesn’t actually own the land in which Harrah’s New Orleans sits. The city retains ownership of the actual acreage, and leases the property to the casino giant.

Caesars Sale

Eldorado Resorts is in the process of acquiring Caesars Entertainment for $17.3 billion. Once complete, the combined unit will be the largest gaming operator in the US. Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg told investors after the landmark deal that some casinos will likely be sold before the takeover is complete – which is expected to close sometime in the first half of next year.

The gaming executive didn’t specify which Caesars or Eldorado casinos might go up for sale. But the company unloaded its Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in West Virginia, and its Missouri Isle Casino Cape Girardeau and Lady Luck casinos in June.

Harrah’s New Orleans likely isn’t on the short list of other potential casinos Reeg might want to sell.

“Harrah’s was identified as one of the top properties in the Caesar’s portfolio, so I’m sure the successor owner will be just as committed,” Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chair Ronnie Jones said.