Louisiana Gaming Revenue Surges in March, Compared to First Month of Pandemic

Posted on: April 20, 2021, 03:41h. 

Last updated on: April 20, 2021, 04:53h.

Louisiana’s casinos saw a large percentage increase in gaming revenue last month compared to March 2020, when COVID-19 rates began to spike.

Harrah's New Orleans
Flags fly in front of Harrah’s New Orleans near the Mississippi River. Harrah’s is the only land-based casino in Louisiana. (Image: KATC-TV)

This year in March, the state’s 13 riverboat casinos, a land-based casino in New Orleans, and four racinos brought in $225.1 million, according to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. This represents a 132 percent increase compared to March 2020, when Louisiana had 15 riverboats in operation instead of 13.

This year, the state has been down two riverboat casinos. The Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, damaged during Hurricane Laura last year, is closed temporarily. In Shreveport-Bossier City, the DiamondJacks riverboat casino has been shuttered.

In 2020, every Louisiana casino closed on March 17 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The casinos remained closed for almost two months.  

Last month, the casinos in the New Orleans area generated $51.6 million, a 119 percent increase over the previous March. This includes a 114 percent increase at Harrah’s New Orleans. The land-based Harrah’s went from $10.5 million in March 2020 to $22.4 million last month, according to the New Orleans website nola.com. 

The riverboat casinos in the New Orleans area also experienced large percentage increases in gaming revenue. One example is Boomtown New Orleans in Harvey, across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans. Boomtown went from $5 million in March 2020 to $12.4 million one year later, a 150% increase.

Big Percentage Increases

Other parts of the state also saw large gaming increases this March compared to March 2020.

The largest percentage gain at any casino statewide was at Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City. That riverboat casino went from $6.5 million in revenue in March 2020 to $19.7 million last month, a 203 percent increase.

Bossier City is in Northwestern Louisiana. It is on the east side of the Red River, across from Shreveport. The Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area is about two-and-a-half hours east of Dallas. 

Other resorts in the area also performed much better last month, compared to March 2020. Eldorado Resort Casino in Shreveport went from $4.4 million to $11.1 million, a 154 percent increase, according to nola.com. 

South Louisiana Rebounds

In South Louisiana, casinos throughout the area had major percentage increases last month, compared to the previous March.

Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge had the largest increase in the capital city, up 162 percent. It went from $2.5 million to $6.6 million.

Closer to the Texas border, the casinos in the Lake Charles area enjoyed large percentage increases by monthly comparison. L’Auberge Lake Charles was the biggest percentage winner in Southwestern Louisiana. It went from $10.8 million in March 2020 to to $30 million last month, a 179 percent increase.

In February, some Louisiana casinos closed because of frigid temperatures that paralyzed much of the region for several days. This contributed to a decline in casino wins compared to the previous February.

This bitter cold followed a record number of hurricanes that clobbered South Louisiana during the summer and fall, also leading to temporary casino closures.