Louisiana Gaming Revenue Rebounds, February Win Climbs to $194.5M

Posted on: March 20, 2024, 10:49h. 

Last updated on: March 20, 2024, 11:50h.

The Louisiana gaming industry remains rattled, but February showed signs that the downward run might be nearing its end.

Louisiana gaming revenue Harrah's New Orleans
Harrah’s New Orleans helped propel Louisiana’s gaming industry in February 2024. State casinos and racetrack slots won $194.5 million. (Image: New Orleans Advocate)

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board this week reported that February gross gaming revenue (GGR) from in-person slot machines and table games at the state’s riverboats, land-based casinos, and racetracks totaled more than $194.5 million. Compared with February 2023, last month’s win represented a 1% improvement.

One percent might not seem like much. But for a market that’s seen gaming revenues decline year over year in 10 of the previous 12 months, it’s a major victory.

The state’s 12 riverboats and three brick-and-mortar casinos won $166.8 million off gamblers, a 0.9% premium from a year ago. The state’s four racetracks that offer slots saw win climb 1.5% to $27.7 million.

Winners and Losers 

Harrah’s New Orleans, one of only three brick-and-mortar casinos in Louisiana, was among the biggest winners last month in terms of year-over-year increases. The downtown Big Easy casino saw its GGR rally more than 10% to $23.8 million, a gain of nearly $2.2 million.

The three casinos in Baton Rouge — the Belle, Queen, and L’Auberge — combined to win $22.8 million, a 10.7% surge from February 2023.

The Shreveport/Bossier market posted a slight 0.3% year-over-year revenue increase to $44.2 million. Margaritaville remained the top operator at $16.7 million.

The three New Orleans riverboats — Amelia Belle, Boomtown, and Treasure Chest — won 0.5% more money from players to escalate their win to $20.3 million.

Lake Charles remained the richest market. But its two riverboats, Golden Nugget and L’Auberge, and the city’s land-based Horseshoe, saw win slide 6% to $55.7 million. Gaming revenue in the border city was almost $3.7 million below February 2023.

At the tracks, Delta Downs grew slot hold almost 3% to $14.1 million. Louisiana Downs’ $4 million win was 10% higher. Evangeline Downs and the Fairgrounds experienced year-over-losses as they, respectively, won $6.1 million, down 1.1%, and $3.5 million, down 7%.

Riverboats’ Murky Future

Louisiana’s legacy gaming industry, or retail slots and table games, was one of only eight states that experienced a year-over-year commercial gaming revenue decline in 2023. While traditional gaming set revenue records in 15 states, Louisiana, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia, and Florida saw in-person play dwindle.

Though the Bayou State’s 2023 retail gaming revenue losses of approximately 2% were covered by online sports betting, the state’s longtime riverboats are treading water in unsettled market currents.

Louisiana’s casinos in Lake Charles and Shreveport/Bossier remain focused on efforts in Texas to legalize commercial casino resorts. The push is being led by billionaire Mark Cuban, the Shark Tank star who last year sold a controlling stake in his longtime NBA Dallas Mavericks to casino tycoon Dr. Miriam Adelson.

Cuban and Adelson are said to be working on a mixed-use development in Dallas that would include a new arena for the NBA team, accompanied by an integrated resort casino. For that to happen, Texas lawmakers would need to legalize Las Vegas-style gambling, something the GOP-controlled legislature has refused for decades.

Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands has spent millions of dollars lobbying Texas lawmakers. Casinos in the Lone Star State would likely devastate casinos in Lake Charles and Shreveport/Bossier, as the parking lots at those properties are constantly filled with vehicles sporting Texas license plates.