No need to holler, “Mayday! Mayday!” even though Louisiana May gaming revenue took a -9.2% dip year-over-year. That’s because despite having the lowest handle since mobile sports betting launched here, the merry month still emerged as a really good one for sports betting operators in terms of hold. And likewise for the state in terms of taxes paid.
The state’s gaming markets, which consist of Harrah’s, the 13 riverboat casinos, and four racinos took in $207.3 million, down from $228.2 million last May. All the markets except Lake Charles experienced drops, and thanks go to L’Auberge for that lone year-over-year increase.
Overall, sports betting took in $171.1 million. Louisiana online sports betting saw $142.9 million in bets. And although that was $44 million less in actual bets than in April (and the lowest monthly amount since mobile sports betting launched), it still produced $25.7 million in revenue.
That’s because the house did better than bettors overall, and ultimately the win ratio for operators was 15.9% in May versus just 1.8% in April. Parlays accounted for almost $11 million of that.
As Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chair Ronny Johns said at the Board’s Jun. 16 meeting, “That’s what the win ratio will do for you.” As of now, Louisiana has the highest win rate among the 13 states who’ve made their May numbers available. The lowest of the 13 belongs to Connecticut at 7.9%.
In the end, Louisiana collected $2.7 million in sports betting taxes for the month. That high amount in part resulted from limited promotional play last month. The $5 million annual promo deduction permitted per operator has continued to dwindle with use, and promotional spending accounted for just $364,295 in May.
Retail sportsbooks have reached a count of sweet sixteen operating here. In May, retail sports betting saw wagers totaling $28.5 million, an increase of about $6 million from April. The hold landed at $2.7 million, or 9.4%.
Take me out to the ball game to bet
Parlays brought in $12.4 million in May. Baseball came in first for individual sports, going home with $5.9 million in overall revenue.
The rest of the sports lineup looked like this:
- Basketball: $5.1 million (about three times as much as April)
- “Other”: $1.3 million (over twice as much as April)
- Soccer: $151,530 (down from April’s $489,405 or about -70%)
Let’s talk about sectors
Overall, the retail gaming industry dropped by -5.3% in May, going down from April’s $292.3 million and landing at $276.7 million.
Only two of the Pelican State’s state-regulated casinos experienced increases year over year: L’Auberge Lake Charles, which single-handedly kept that market in the black, and Boomtown Bossier City.
The fortunes of the state’s four gaming segments panned out like this:
Harrah’s, currently the sole land-based casino, dropped to $20.8 million from $27 million in April. Harrah’s year-over-year downshift came in at -22.4%.
The state’s floating casinos docked at $157 million, down from $161.1 million month-over-month. That constituted a -6.6% decrease year-over-year and -2.5% month-over-month.
L’Auberge Lake Charles topped the others at $30.65 million in revenue, with the Golden Nugget close behind. Still, that made a -0.6% decrease for the Nugget.
Together, the four properties brought in $29.58 million in AGR, not too far behind April’s $30.76 million. Delta Downs in Vinton can claim credit for about half of it.
Video poker dropped by -18.6% year-over-year, going from last May’s $77.6 million down to $69.4 million in 2022. That also made for a drop from April.
According to thecentersquare.com, that drop from the 12,000 plus machines played at bars, truck stops, and restaurants might be attributable to the emergence of legal sports betting.
Louisiana May gaming revenue: market by market
New Orleans had only experienced a 1.5% increase year-over-year in April, so maybe it’s not too much of a system shock that it dropped by -14.1%, landing at $48.3 million, down from $56.3 million. Harrah’s plunge didn’t help.
The Belle of Baton Rouge, of which the sale was finalized in May, dropped -19.3% year-over-year. That played a part in the capital city’s overall -12.5% decrease.
In Lake Charles, it was L’Auberge to the rescue; its 12.2% jump meant that the market could record an overall 2.4% increase.
Boomtown Bossier City was the only other property to experience an increase, in this case, 0.2%. Shreveport-Bossier overall dropped -15.4% year-over-year.
Evangeline Downs in Opelousas went down -by 19.6%.
Inflation and keeping a close eye on the numbers
According to thecentersquare.com, experts believe the downward trend relates to inflation. And Wade Duty, the executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, has pointed out the effects of inflation and high gas prices on people’s discretionary income.
A sizeable portion of Louisiana’s casino revenues results from people driving here from other states, including Texas, where the average gas price per gallon on Jun. 21 was $4.6 per gallon.
Regarding the May decreases, Ronnie Johns said:
“I’ve visited with a number of the operators by phone and there’s some concern about what’s going on with the economy — the price of gasoline, the inflation rates, the high-interest rates. And so there is some concern, and I think some of these numbers are starting to reflect some of these concerns.”
“Not that we can do a whole lot about it,” he added. “But something that we’re gonna watch, and we’ll keep a very close eye on those numbers.”
“Off to a good start”
May taxes due to the state came to $2.4 million from online sports betting and around $268,209 from retail sports betting.
So far this year, Louisiana has seen online bets totaling $768 million. That means tax revenue has come to about $10.3 million.
Retail bets for the year so far land at almost $222 million resulting in $2.3 million in taxes paid to Louisiana. Peak retail sports betting so far occurred in January, with $49 million taken in. Peak online gambling occurred in February with $211 million. That was the first full month online was legal and, of course, the month of the Super Bowl.
Johns further addressed the month’s numbers at the Jun. 16 meeting, specifically regarding taxes accrued from sports betting:
“To date, through the end of May, total taxes paid will be $12,673,778. So about $12.6 million between retail and mobile. So we’re off to a good start.”
Nationwide, online gambling taxes have brought in $520 million already this year.
In other sports betting news: The Louisiana Lottery, which is entitled to a sports betting skin according to the bill signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in March 2021, is currently in contract negotiations with a sports betting provider.