With March Madness and the Super Bowl both in the rear-view mirror, it probably comes as no surprise that Louisiana April gambling revenue dipped significantly from March.
And looking even further back, to 2021, it turns out state gambling operations’ revenue that year also dropped from pre–pandemic levels.
For starters, Louisiana sports betting operators took in $208.3 million in bets, coming down 10.5% from March’s $232.7 million.
Breaking those numbers down
It went like this:
Retail sportsbooks handled $22.2 million, dropping -17.8% month-over-month.
Online sportsbooks took in $186 million, dropping -9.5% from March’s $205.7 million.
The two together saw revenues of $6.1 million, a month-over-month decrease and a whopping 80% plummet. Mobile gets the credit for 89.3% of betting activity. And Louisiana took in $2.6 million in sports wagering taxes, dropping –24.6% from March’s tax revenue.
Even with all the negatives, sports betting operators can find a bright spot: during Final Four Weekend, 10,500 new accounts were created, according to GeoComply.
Good sports, bad sports
Again, it’s not really a shock that basketball dropped from its March Madness heights, taking a loss of -$12.46 million after March’s gain of $12.8 million.
Online sportsbook revenue (beside basketball) looked like this:
- Parlays: $13.49 million, ($13.57 million in March)
- Baseball, $1.3 million ($173,131 in March)
- Football, $14,802 ($111,678 in March)
- Soccer, $471,998 ($467,735 in March)
Individual retail sportsbook revenue for April reflected the following:
- Parlays, $1.29 million ($1.76 million in March)
- Baseball, $311,983 ($41,951 in March)
- Basketball, $571,543 ($133,540 in March)
- Football, $5,206 (-$300,093 loss in March)
- Soccer, $17,407 ($20,903 in March)
By region, year-over-year, and otherwise…
Statewide casino revenue dropped -7.4% year-over-year, from $232.6 million to $218.8 million.
Only land-based Harrah’s and land-based-to-be Treasure Chest came out ahead year-over-year in April. Treasure Chest went up 4.3% with a revenue take of $9.6 million, an increase of 3.2% month-over-month.
Moreover, Harrah’s revenue went up 7.6%, landing at $27 million, and also increased 18.2% month-over-month.
New Orleans led with a year-over-year increase of 1.5%, up from $55.4 million to $56.3 million. Baton Rouge dropped -11.8%, going from $26.4 million in March 2021 to $23.3 million last month.
L’Auberge did the best in the capital, going down -7.5%, from $18 million in March 2021 to $16.7 million last month.
Lake Charles sank -4.9%, taking in revenue of $76.2 million in April, whereas last year it took in $80.1 million. Golden Nugget fared the best, although at a -3.5% decrease.
Shreveport/Bossier took in $56.1 million versus last April’s $65.6 million for a drop of -14.5%.
The best, and by sectors
Margaritaville did the best, going lower by only -0.3%, from $19,773, 305 to $18,793,808, year-over-year. Opelousa’s racetrack, Evangeline Downs, didn’t gallop but walked — slowly — to a decrease of -18.5%. The track took in $7 million whereas a year ago it took in $8.6 million.
Breaking the state down by gaming sectors:
- Racinos dropped -1.4 percent month-over-month and -12% year-over-year.
- Riverboats combined saw a -3.8% decrease month-over-month and -8.6% year-over-year.
- Gaming terminals dropped a substantial -9.3% month-over-month and -13.2% year-over-year. Louisiana has over 12,000 gaming terminals.
Inflation’s not a gas
Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, identified high gas prices and rising inflation as culprits in the Louisiana April gambling revenue drop, for casinos in particular.
In mid-April, national average gas prices were $4.101 and Louisiana’s average was $3.863, according to thelistwire.usatoday.com.
“Overall, inflation is eating into people’s discretionary income,” Duty said. “With the costs of regularly incurring expenses going up, that’s putting external pressure on people.”
Looking back at 2021: The state of the Pelican State in the “State of the States”
According to the American Gaming Association’s State of the States 2022 report released this month, in 2021 the commercial gambling industry experienced a “record-setting” revenue recovery after the historic lows of 2020 caused by the pandemic.
Nationwide, gaming revenue came in at an all-time high of $53.03 billion, a jump of 21.5% from pre–pandemic 2019.
“… top gaming markets largely returned to their pre-pandemic revenue rankings in 2021.” – American Gaming Association, State of the States
Disappointingly for some, though, Louisiana gaming didn’t fare nearly as well as #1 Las Vegas in the report, for instance. Despite a 43.5% increase over 2020, Louisiana saw a -3.2% drop from 2019.
The AGA noted the impact of several hurricanes on Louisiana’s gaming market. In August 2020, Hurricane Laura’s unmooring of the Isle of Capri-Lake Charles riverboat and damage to the land-based casino construction underway has resulted in the property still remaining closed.
Lasting aftereffects on Louisiana gambling revenue
The summer of 2021’s Hurricane Ida impacted operations in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
And DiamondJacks in Bossier City has stayed dormant since the 2020 Covid lockdown. (There is currently a sale pending to Foundation Gaming.)
Also, according to Matt Roob, senior vice president of analysis for Spectrum Gaming Group, video poker winnings were not included in the State of the States report. Video poker machine winnings actually increased by 34.5% from 2019 to 2021.
This occurs despite the number of available machines, which are found in non-casino locations, shrinking by almost 1,000 in the interim.
Roob also thinks the more established Mississippi sports betting market may have attracted more players than the more recently launched Louisiana one. Louisiana’s general fund and local parishes that have casinos saw the benefits of the $573.1 million in tax revenue taken in by the state through commercial casino activity.
Sports betting, legal for only two full months in 2021, generated $1 million in taxes.
Another thing that dropped in 2021, according to the AGA? The age of the average casino patron dipped from 49.5 in 2019 to 43.5.