Apr 20, 2010 5:01 PM by Melissa Canone
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Gamblers left behind $206.5 million last
month at Louisiana's state-licensed casinos, down about 5.2 percent
from March 2009, state police reported Tuesday.
The 13 riverboat casinos took in $142.4 million, while Harrah's
New Orleans land casino won $29.6 million. The four casinos at race
tracks won $34.4 million.
In March 2009, those casinos took in $218 million. The latest
figure was down a bit from the Mardi Gras month of February 2010
when gamblers lost $208.7 million.
Although the post-recession casino take is improving,
Louisiana's gambling business still shows signs of a long-term
trend downward in the amount of money won. For example, in March
2008, before the economic meltdown, the casinos won $229.6 million.
Last week, Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. scrapped plans for a
second casino-hotel in Lake Charles, saying it would instead
concentrate on improvements at its existing L'Auberge Du Lac
gambling resort in that city. Las Vegas-based Pinnacle still plans
to develop a new riverboat casino in Baton Rouge.
The move put Louisiana into the category of other casino states
- including Nevada and Mississippi - that have seen major projects
delayed or canceled following the recession.
Among the state's casino markets last month:
- Shreveport-Bossier City, with five riverboats and the
Louisiana Downs track casino, took in $67.7 million last month,
down slightly from $69.4 million in March 2009. That market is
heavily dependent upon out-of-staters, particularly from Texas, who
are getting an increasing number of gambling options at Indian
nation casinos in Oklahoma.
- The Texas-oriented Lake Charles market, with three riverboats
and the Delta Downs track casino, won $54.9 million last month,
down from $58.9 million in March 2009. L'Auberge Du Lac kept its
place as the top-grossing riverboat with $28.1 million in winnings.
- The New Orleans market, with two riverboats, the land casino
and the Fair Grounds track casino won $54.9 million last month,
down from $58.4 million in March 2009.
- The two riverboats in the Baton Rouge market won $16.8 million
last month, down from $18.9 million in March 2009.
- The lone riverboat in the Morgan City area won $4.3 million
last month, down from $4.6 million in March 2009.
- The Evangeline Downs track casino took in $7.9 million last
month, down from $8.7 million in March 2009.
The figures do not include the state's three Indian reservation
casinos, which are not required to report their winnings to the