Summary: The riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge suffered in 2018, seeing a decrease in revenues of 15% from the previous year.
As the New Year is in full swing, we are starting to get an inside look as to how gaming operations fared across the United States in 2018. Gaming commissions and lottery groups are compiling data from gaming operations in their respective areas and releasing the info to the public. Some states have seen great success with their gambling industries, while others have suffered a bit. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board recently provided the revenue totals for riverboat casinos in Baton Rouge, venues that suffered quite a drop when compared to 2017.
Riverboat Revenue Plummet
In Baton Rouge, there are three riverboat casinos in operation. Players can visit the Belle of Baton Rouge, the Hollywood Casino or the L’Auberge Baton Rouge, when in the area. In 2018, the casinos brought in a total of $256 million. This was a 15% decrease when compared to the over $300 million earned in 2017.
The decline was not that much a surprise for the operators as the riverboat casinos have suffered from revenue decreases for about a year and a half now. Month after month, the casinos have seen a drop in earnings, having many wonder how much longer the venues will be in business.
The worst month in 2018 for the casinos was July where just over 26% less was earned than in the same time frame from 2017. March was the best month, where the region earned just over $27 million, but this was still 8% less than what was earned the previous March.
The Belle of Baton Rouge was the biggest loser in 2018, having dropped just over 23% in 2018. The casino earned $44.4 million which is much less when compared to the $57.9 million earned in 2017. This year, it doesn’t appear that the venue is going to fare any better. The new parent company of the facility, Eldorado Resorts, has decided to drop plans to upgrade the property and move it onshore.
The Hollywood Casino was also down in revenues, earning just $58.1 million. This was a 14.7% drop from 2017. The L’Auberge venue was down just over 12% with only $153.2 million in earnings. This was much less than the $174.4 million from 2017.
Moving on to Land
The riverboat casinos do have the option now to move on to land. A new state law was enacted that allows the operators to move their facilities on to land if they meet certain investment thresholds. Eldorado Resorts had plans to move the Belle onto land but they are now reconsidering the option. It seems that they may not feel that the investment would be worthwhile.
The other venues have yet to announce plans to move from water to land. With the lowered revenues, it may be some time before any equity is freed up in order to make the move. It is disappointing as new venues might be able to bring in more revenues to the state if larger facilities were created.
Overall, the riverboat casinos Louisiana were able to bring in $1.92 billion in revenues. This is about the same as the revenues earned the previous year, when considering all riverboat casinos in the state.