At the end of August, a tropical-storm-weary Louisiana got pummeled again. This time, Hurricane Ida shut down Lousiana casinos in some areas. Because of resulting power outages, some New Orleans and Baton Rouge casinos have needed more than a week to reopen after the storm, and a few remain closed.
Operational status of Lousiana casinos
The casino at Harrah’s New Orleans is now open 24/7, and the hotel was scheduled to reopen September 10. The largest and only land-based casino in Louisiana, Harrah’s had previously posted a message on its website saying, “We look forward to welcoming you back once it’s safe to do so.”
As of Friday, September 10, other casino statuses were as follows:
- Fair Grounds Race Course – Not open (Watch their Facebook page for updates.)
- Treasure Chest (Kenner) – Open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Boomtown (Harvey) – Not open
- Amelia Belle – Open
- Hollywood (Baton Rouge) – Open, full-capacity
- Belle of Baton Rouge – Open until midnight for now
- L’Auberge Baton Rouge – Open
Some areas of Louisiana, like Lake Charles, were luckily spared from the storm despite battering by previous hurricanes.
Hurricane Ida knocks out power across the state
Ida goes on the books as one of the strongest storms to hit the Louisiana coast since at least the mid-1800s, when record-keeping began, per the Weather Company. The Category 4 hurricane made landfall near Port Fourchon just before noon CDT on Sunday, August 29. Sustained winds of 150 mph slammed the area, just seven mph short of categorization as a 5.
The human toll in Louisiana was counted at 26 lives as of September 10 out of a storm-related total of 82. Eleven perished in New Orleans. The Louisiana Department of Health attributed nine of those 11 to “excessive heat during an extended power outage” and two to carbon monoxide poisoning; the deceased ranged in age from 59 to 79.
Damages extended from the coast to several miles inland and included power outages for most of the state as the storm devastated the power grid. However, as of September 9, more than 90% of greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge customers saw their power restored. Overall in the state, 75% of Louisianans had their power back, Governor Jon Bel Edwards announced that day.
Residents and businesses experienced water and gas shortages after the storm, as well.
westislandblog.com cites Ida as the 6th most destructive Atlantic hurricane, with property destruction estimated at $50 billion.
It appears that no New Orleans casino experienced no notable structural damage.
Area casinos had shut down the weekend before the storm so that employees could get home and prepare.
In early August, Louisiana Gaming Board Chair Ronnie Johns had said that storms pose an ongoing safety concern for riverboat casinos. “You never know what’s going to happen,” the former Lake Charles senator said.
Louisiana casinos can expect drop in gaming revenue
After the storm, a troubling earnings forecast serves as an unfortunate bookend to the bad-weather forecasts that preceded Ida.
Analyst Carlo Santarelli of New York’s Deutsch Bank has predicted a 19% August drop in Louisiana’s gross gaming revenue compared to the same period in 2019.
This comes after a 9.7% two-year increase in July.