Louisiana Casinos Damaged by Hurricane Laura Remain Closed, With No Timetable to Reopen

Posted on: August 28, 2020, 01:53h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2020, 12:30h.

Casinos and racetracks blasted by the massive hurricane that tore through Louisiana on Thursday, Aug. 27, were faced with repairs at week’s end.

Louisiana Governor Responds To Hurricane Damage
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) noted that Hurricane Laura caused extensive damage in the Bayou State. The casinos in the Lake Charles area were closed Friday, Aug. 28. (Image: The Advertiser)

All four casinos in the Lake Charles area — the Isle of Capri, L’Auberge, Golden Nugget, and Delta Downs — were damaged by Hurricane Laura. All remained closed on Friday, Aug. 28, with no set date to reopen.

On Thursday, the Isle of Capri riverboat casino, owned by Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, broke from its mooring in the storm and struck a bridge. A tugboat later removed the riverboat and returned it to the original location, Louisiana State Police Lt. Robert Fontenot said.

Fontenot told Casino.org repairs to the riverboat could last nine months.   

At L’Auberge, a Penn National Gaming property, some of the hotel’s siding was damaged, according to television news reports. The resort’s pool area was hit by scattered debris.

Also in Lake Charles, sections of the Golden Nugget’s roof blew off, and an outdoor stage and swimming pool were damaged. In a statement, the company, Houston-based Landry’s Inc., said it is “unsure of an exact reopening date.”

The Delta Downs Racetrack and Casino in Vinton received roof and water damage, according to a statement from the resort’s owner, Nevada-based Boyd Gaming. Vinton is 27 miles west of Lake Charles, near the Texas border.

Storm’s Path

With top wind speeds of 150 mph, Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm, barreled ashore south of the Lake Charles area early Thursday, before battering the city.

At least 10 people were killed, including a 14-year-old girl and a 68-year-old man who died when trees fell on their homes in Louisiana. A plume of smoke was visible in the Lake Charles area during this time from a leak at a Biolab plant. The plant makes chemicals used in household cleaners and chlorine powder for pools.

By Friday, an estimated 750,000 homes and businesses throughout the region were without power. The municipal water supply in Lake Charles, a city of about 80,000 people, had not been restored by early Friday, according to The Weather Channel.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Hurricane Laura was the most powerful ever to strike the state, according to the Associated Press.

Hours after landfall, the storm maintained wind speeds of 40 mph as it ripped through the Shreveport area in northwestern Louisiana. At least one casino in Shreveport, Sam’s Town, was closed briefly because of wind damage but was open again on Friday.

The storm’s remnants later plowed through Arkansas before heading east. Wind gusts of 40 mph battered the Memphis area in western Tennessee.   

Back in Business

Hurricane Laura was the second storm to hit Louisiana during the week. Tropical Storm Marco blew ashore near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Monday, bringing heavy rain, but not the destruction that accompanied the hurricane.

As both storms zeroed in on the Louisiana coast days earlier, the only casino in the New Orleans area that closed, Boomtown Casino, was open again by Thursday.

Next door in Mississippi, the state Gaming Commission on Aug. 24 issued a directive discouraging travel to casinos during severe weather. However, with the storms striking west of the Magnolia State, the directive was lifted by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming and Hospitality Association, told Casino.org in an email on Friday that he was unaware of any damage to Mississippi’s 26 commercial casinos during the two storms this week.