Along with 150 mph winds and statewide power loss, Hurricane Ida brought over $3 million in August revenue losses for some Louisiana casinos and racetracks.
According to data issued by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, the brunt of revenue loss was felt by the state’s riverboat casinos. Most of them had to close for several August days because of the storm, which made landfall on Aug. 29.
Racetracks with slot machines also felt the financial impact of the Category 4 storm.
This happens on the heels of June losses possibly stemming from Hurricane Claudette.
Riverboat Revenues Down Compared to Same Time, Last Year
When combined, revenues from affected riverboat casinos sank by $4.5 million when compared to the same month last year. Of these six, the Amelia Belle decreased the most and only Hollywood Casino saw an increase:
- Amelia Belle, Amelia (-32.1% August 2021 vs. August 2020)
- Treasure Chest, New Orleans
- Belle of Baton Rouge (-16.9 %, August 2021 vs. August 2020)
- Hollywood, Baton Rouge (+5.2%, August 2021 vs. August 2020)
- Boomtown, New Orleans
- L’Auberge Casino Hotel, Baton Rouge (-10.5% %, August 2021 vs. August 2020)
Hollywood Casino brought in $4.6 million in August of this year, up from $4.4 million in August 2020. Comparing the same time period, L’Auberge’s earnings dropped from $12.1 million to $10.9 million, and the Belle of Baton Rouge’s dropped to $1 million from $1.2 million.
Land-based Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel and Casino proved to be one of two exceptions in storm-tossed regions (the other being Hollywood Casino); its August revenues landed ahead of its 2020 numbers by 16% — $13.7 million in August 2021 vs. $11.8 million in August 2020. Harrah had closed its doors for three days in August due to Ida.
Racetracks Run a Loss, Too
Despite being closed for only one August day, Evangeline Downs in Opelousas saw a 1.1% drop of $63,412. Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in New Orleans reopened Sept. 15 after experiencing a fall of 12.4%, to the tune of $378,390.
On the other hand, video gaming income rose by 9.5% despite the hurricane.
Good News for Louisiana Overall
Thanks to increases in areas not affected by Ida, however, statewide gaming earnings saw a boost of 5.2% — $156.3 million this past August vs. $148.6 million in August of 2020. That significantly beats the 19% loss predicted by a Deutsch Bank analyst.
Shreveport-Bossier City rose 11.2% and Lake Charles increased by 11.7%. Some of Lake Charles’ recent hike likely stems from its August 2020 revenues dropping because of damages from Hurricane Laura.
Riverboat casinos as a whole also experienced a revenue gain compared to the same time last year, in the amount of $5.9 million or 5.2%.
But overall, the state capital, Baton Rouge, had a revenue downfall of 7%, while New Orleans declined by 5.3%. Ida’s financial effects on casinos that remained closed in early September remain to be seen in October, when data for the current month is released by the Gaming Control Board.
On Sept. 9, Gov. Jon Bel Edwards signed an emergency decree delaying the withdrawal of franchise payments to the Louisiana Gaming Control Board [under La. R.S. 27:435(0)] until Oct. 19.
The decree allows licensees “to fully assess losses and communicate such to the State.”