Louisiana riverboat and land-based casinos had a better month in May than in April, helped by the long weekend and federal tax rebate cheques. For most the May figures were encouraging as gross gaming revenue was up from the same month in 2007, with the exception of the state’s one land-based casino, Harrah’s New Orleans, down 3.4%; two riverboats, also in New Orleans, down around 0.5%; and one of the two Baton Rouge riverboat casinos, down 7.2%.
According to the Louisiana State Police in their monthly activity summary, total admissions for May were up from the previous month but riverboat casino visits were down over 4,500 on May 2007. Harrah’s New Orleans showed a similar trend. The fall in visitor numbers is being seen in many states, including Nevada, as increasing fuel and food prices impact expendable incomes. In April gambling revenue in Louisiana was 7.2% lower than in March but the May figures were up 10.4% to US$235.2 million.
Business in New Orleans has yet to recover fully from the impact of Hurricane Katrina, which caused havoc to the casinos along the Gulf Coast in 2005. The tourist industry is still a pale shadow of its former glory even though the annual Mardi Gras celebrations were better attended this year than last. In 2006 gross gaming revenue for casinos in Louisiana, including racetrack slot machines, was just under US$2.57 billion, virtually unchanged from 2006 after five years of steady growth. (E-06.18.08)
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