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Feb 24, 2010 7:09 AM by Rob Kirkpatrick

Louisiana State Gambling Revenues Take Hit In Today's Economy

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana's state-licensed casinos took a big
hit from the struggling economy in January, as winnings from
gamblers decreased 14.6 percent from January 2009.
The state's 13 riverboat casinos won $131.2 million last month,
down from $153.2 million the previous January, state police
reported Tuesday. Harrah's Entertainment Inc.'s land casino in New
Orleans saw winnings fall to $27 million from $31.3 million in
January 2009.
The four racetrack casinos took in $31.5 million last month, a
drop from $37.6 million the previous January.
The latest monthly total - $189.7 million - shows a sharp
reversal from a year ago, when the casinos won $222.2 million in
January 2009, an 11 percent gain over January 2008, even as other
major gambling states were struggling with declining revenue. At
that time, analysts said Louisiana was able to take advantage of
regional and local markets with players close at hand - and the
deepening recession had not hit the state full throttle yet.
But after year-to-year figures began dropping off by double
digits later in the year, the effect of tight discretionary dollars
and less travel began showing up in the Louisiana reports, putting
the state in the same situation with other casino states.
For example, in neighboring Mississippi, casinos recorded an
11.3 percent fall in gambling revenue in the January-to January
comparison. New Jersey casinos fell 8.5 percent.
In a report that fully showed the problems in Nevada, that
state's major casinos recorded a net loss - covering all forms of
revenue - of $6.8 billion for the 2009 fiscal year, two years after
recording a record net income of $2.7 billion, according to the
Nevada Gaming Control Board. No such report is compiled for
Louisiana.
As a result of the slower play, state casino tax collections for
the first seven months of the current fiscal year are down 7.4
percent over the same time of the 2008-09 fiscal year.
Among Louisiana casino markets:
- Baton Rouge, considered to be largely a local market with two
riverboats, recorded the largest January-to-January drop in
gambling winnings: 25.6 percent. The boats took in $14.5 million
last month, $5 million less than in January 2009.
- The Shreveport-Bossier City market, with five riverboats and
the Louisiana Downs casino, posted a 13 percent fall, winning $61.3
million last month, down from $70.4 million in January 2009. That
market also is facing increasing competition for Texas gamblers
from Indian nation casinos in Oklahoma.
- The Lake Charles market, with three riverboats and the Delta
Downs track casino, saw a 12.4 percent falloff, with $52.4 million
in winnings last month, down from $58.9 million in January 2009.
- The New Orleans market, which has two riverboats and the Fair
Grounds casino in addition to the land casino, saw gambling
winnings fall 15.1 percent from $58.8 million in January 2009 to
$49.7 million last month.
- The one-boat market of Morgan City sustained a 20 percent fall
from $5.3 million in gambling winnings in January 2009 to $4.2
million last month.
- The Evangeline Downs track casino at Opelousas won $7.7
million last month, a 16.3 percent drop from $9.2 million in
January 2009.
In December 2009, Louisiana casinos won $192.4 million.
The figures do not include the three Indian reservation casinos
in Louisiana, which are not required to report their winnings to
the public.

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