Final 4 ‘Net’ Profits Exceed Expectations For March Gambling

Posted on May 18, 2022

Despite all the hoop-la associated with March Madness, Louisiana’s March gambling revenue took a slight dip in sports betting from February.

Still, the numbers are good, and according to Louisiana Gaming Control Board chair Ronnie Johns, the Final Four gets the credit. “I think it’s exceeded the legislature’s expectations,” he said.

Louisiana’s March gambling revenue included $31 million in gross operating revenue thanks to sports betting. That came from a total handle of more than $232.7 million.

According to the Louisiana State Police, LA online sportsbooks took in more than $205.7 million in sports betting handle. That made for $28.4 million in revenue and more than $3.18 million in tax revenue.

Retail sportsbook bets landed at over $26.9 million, resulting in $1.7 million in revenue and $227,621 in tax contributions.

Overall, though, although most states with tracked legal sports betting saw a March increase, Louisiana’s handle dropped -2.4% from February’s sports betting handle of $238.4 million.

Louisiana currently has 15 retail sportsbooks and seven online. The drop-off from February’s $10 million to $802,245 in available promotional credits in March likely affected sports betting both on-property and online.

Hoop-de-doo! Final Four brings in the bucks

Unsurprisingly, considering March Madness was happening with the Final Four taking place right here in the Pelican State, basketball came in first in individual sports betting.

Hoops brought in just a little less than $12.8 million in online revenue and $133,540 in retail.

Soccer came next, kicking in $467,735 in revenue from online sports betting and $20,903 retail.

Baseball drove home $173,131 online and $41,591 retail.

Parlays did even a little better than basketball, accounting for $13.5 million in mobile revenue and $1.7 million retail.

Old-school gaming figures

Before legalizing sports betting, Louisiana had other forms of gaming — and still does. Here’s how they fared in March.

The state’s four racinos saw a month-over-month revenue increase of +23.8%, landing at $31.2 million. Newly reopened Louisiana Downs practically doubled its revenue month-over-month, going to $3.56 million in March from February’s $1.85 million.

Video terminals, which number more than 12,000 in the state, climbed 13.9%, landing at almost $81 million in March after February’s $71.1 million.

Land-based Harrah’s New Orleans did better by +13.1% month-over-month, taking in $22.8 million.
Riverboat casinos experienced a +10.4% month-over-month increase. The 13 operations together took in $167.43 million in adjusted gross revenue. That’s up from $151.65 million in Valentine’s month.

Still, that was a drop-off of -0.5% year-over-year.

L’Auberge Baton Rouge did great, jumping almost 25% year-over-year, and single-handedly contributing positively to the capital’s +10.3% year-over-year climb. The other Baton Rouge riverboats didn’t fare as well: Hollywood Baton Rouge dropped -19% year-over-year and the Belle of Baton Rouge slid down by -7.2%.

The state’s other markets line up this way year-over-year for March:

  • Lake Charles: +0.6%
  • New Orleans: +5.4%
  • Shreveport/Bossier City: -8.2%

Is sunny earnings weather ahead? Well, per, March 2021 began a three-month streak of strong earnings for Louisiana properties, peaking that April.

Whether or not that repeats this spring, Louisiana Gaming Control Board chair Ronnie Johns said optimistically that “when the fall rolls around… we’re going to see some significant numbers once again.”

8th is enough

Mobile and retail sports betting combined placed Louisiana in 8th place among states with legal sports gambling.

Johns pointed out that because of other states’ larger populations, Louisiana ranked third if the criteria were determined per capita. He added that there have been “no major issues” identified regarding online gambling despite its newness and that “…we’re very pleased with the outcome of March.”

Don’t geofence me in

Looks like the geofencing that was put in place along with Louisiana sports betting has worked well.

“Over 10,000 geo-locations that had never actually wagered in Louisiana before were identified as wagering right there on the confines of the Superdome,” Johns said.

He also noted that technology showed a sizable number of Texans had traveled to Louisiana to bet on the Final Four, primarily in Shreveport and Lake Charles in addition to New Orleans.

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Marian Rosin

Marian Rosin is a freelance writer that has written on a variety of topics including publications like Upnest and Psychology Today. Marian brings experience in the gambling sector as the senior copywriter for Isle of Capri casinos.

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