Figures posted by regulators Thursday show that, overall, December was a good month for the casinos, although the riverboat figures were mixed as the market saw a new casino in Baton Rouge open and ongoing changes in other areas.
Harrah’s land-based casino in New Orleans won $34.7 million in December. That was up from $28.5 million in November and, better than the $32.1 million the casino took in during December of 2011.
Thirteen state-licensed riverboat casinos took in $143.5 million last month. The take for riverboats had been $132.7 million in November and $138.6 million in December 2011. Slot-machine casinos at the state’s four horse racing tracks took in $33.2 million in December, up from $31.7 million in November and $31.2 million from December 2011.
For the calendar year, Harrah’s New Orleans took in $338.9 million; the riverboats, more than $1.6 billion; the race track casinos, $405 million.
The figures do not include revenue from Indian reservation casinos, which are not required to report winnings to the public.
The overall improvement was not even throughout the markets. The Baton Rouge riverboat market took in $22.9 million in December — a 52 percent improvement over the same month a year earlier, attributable in part to the opening of the L’Auberge Baton Rouge, the market’s third riverboat. That improvement came at a cost to the other two boats, which saw their takes go down in December when compared to December 2011.
The New Orleans riverboat market was flat year-to-year. In Lake Charles, where the ownership of Grand Palais transferred to another market in February, the total take for the market was down almost 2 percent from December to December. The Shreveport-Bossier market was down 3.7 percent.
The Grand Palais ownership transferred to the Margaritaville project that is slated to open in June in Bossier City. Project developers have said the casino’s theme will grow the Shreveport-Bossier market by luring back Dallas gamblers from Oklahoma. But some local casino operators have argued that the addition of a sixth riverboat casino could cannibalize the existing market.
Gaming Control Board figures: lgcb.dps.louisiana.gov/revenue_reports.html
By KEVIN McGILL