Louisiana Riverboat Gaming Revenue Sinks in April on Difficult Comparable

Posted on: May 21, 2024, 01:51h. 

Last updated on: May 21, 2024, 01:51h.

Louisiana riverboat gaming and revenue at the state’s brick-and-mortar casino and slots facilities sunk significantly in April, as the month faced a difficult year-over-year comparison.

Louisiana gaming revenue casino win
The Treasure Chest riverboat on Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans. Temperatures heated up in Louisiana in April, but casino revenue cooled. The state gaming agency that regulates the riverboats, casinos, and racinos said total gaming win declined last month compared with April 2023. (Image: Treasure Chest Casino)

The Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB) this week revealed that gross gaming revenue at the state’s 14 casinos classified as riverboat properties totaled $138.3 million. That’s $12.5 million fewer dollars than the boats won in April 2023, an 8.3% reduction.

The five Shreveport/Bossier City boats won $40.1 million, down 14% from April 2023, while GGR at the three Lake Charles properties totaled $55 million, an 11% decline. The three New Orleans boats reported GGR of $20.1 million, down 1%. Baton Rouge was a lone bright spot, as the three properties there won $23.1 million, up 5.5%.

The state gaming agency continues to list The Queen Baton Rouge and Horseshoe Lake Charles as riverboats despite the properties recently becoming brick-and-mortar facilities.

The LGCB reported that the other land-based casino in the Bayou State — Harrah’s New Orleans — experienced similar struggles as the boats, as GGR dropped 9.4% from a year ago to $19.3 million. Slots at the state’s four racetracks — Delta Downs, Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Fair Grounds — were almost 7% lower at $26.6 million.

April 2024 provided a difficult comparison, as the month included two fewer weekend days than April 2023.

April Showers

April gaming revenue was red across the state gaming industry. Along with April 2024 marking an 8.3% slide in riverboat revenue from April 2023, the haul represented a 17% pullback from March when the properties won $166.2 million.

The $19.3 million won at Harrah’s New Orleans, which is expected to become Caesars New Orleans this fall, was a 13% falloff from March. The racetrack slots saw GGR slide south 17% month-to-month.

However, March also had more weekend days, two to be exact, than did April.

Though April’s results might be explained by the difficult comparisons, Louisiana’s gaming industry saw statewide slot and table GGR fall 2% in 2023.

Fourth Land Casino Under Development

Louisiana’s gaming market is expected to feature a fourth brick-and-mortar casino next year with the opening of the Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana integrated resort in Bossier City. The Cordish Companies is investing $270 million to redevelop the former Diamond Jacks riverboat and bring gaming ashore with a new casino facility.

Cordish announced this week the hiring of gaming industry veteran John Chaszar as the executive vice president and general manager of Live! Louisiana. Chaszar arrives at Cordish from Indiana’s Tropicana Casino in Evansville. During his time there, Chaszar helped oversee the former riverboat’s inland move to a new land-based casino.

Cordish plans to open its Bossier City casino in the first quarter of 2025. The casino will feature over 1,000 slot machines, 40 live dealer table games, a sportsbook, a fully renovated 550-room hotel, a resort-style pool and fitness center, and various nightlife and entertainment.

Outgoing LGCB Chair Ronnie Johns believes Live! will help turn around the Shreveport/Bossier City gaming market, which has struggled post-pandemic.

During the current fiscal year that began July 1, 2023, through April, the five Shreveport/Bossier city riverboats have counted more than 3.64 million admissions and GGR of approximately $431.37 million. During the same 10-month span in 2019, the region’s gaming industry — then with six casinos, as Diamond Jacks was still operating — welcomed nearly 6.39 million visitors and won over $523.3 million.