New Orleans (AP) — Buoyed by a record month from Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.’s downtown land casino in New Orleans, Louisiana’s state-licensed casinos won USD 220.5 million from gamblers in May, state police reported Wednesday.
Harrah’s won USD 39.6 million last month, compared with USD 35.7 million in May 2006 when the state was enjoying reduced competition from casinos on the Mississippi Gulf Coast — all of which were wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
In May 2006, Louisiana casinos won USD 220.2 million. In April 2007, the tally was USD 205 million, a drop from USD 213.9 million in April 2006.
The state’s 13 riverboats won USD 150 million last month, down slightly from USD 152.1 million won by 12 boats in May 2006. During its first 15 days of operation last month, the Amelia Belle casino near Morgan City took in just under USD 2.8 million. That boat moved from New Orleans after Katrina.
Slot machine casinos at three of the state’s race tracks won USD 30.9 million in May, a drop from USD 32.3 million in May 2006.
Despite the land casino’s performance, the New Orleans market, which also includes two riverboat casinos and competes most directly with the Mississippi coast, registered a shrinkage in the May-to-May comparison. The market took in USD 63.4 million last month, compared with USD 67.1 million in May 2006.
The Boomtown Casino in Harvey won USD 14.3 million, compared to USD 18.7 million in May 2006, while the Treasure Chest won USD 9.8 million, a drop from the previous May figure of USD 12.7 million.
In the meantime, casinos along the Mississippi coast won USD 103.3 million, up from the post-Katrina level of USD 65.5 million in May 2006 when only a handful of gambling halls were back in operation. The coast now has 10 casinos and an 11th will open on July 7.
The Louisiana casino markets dependent upon Texas gamblers — Shreveport-Bossier City and Lake Charles — maintained their year-ago pace. In Lake Charles, with three riverboats and the Delta Downs track casino, gamblers lost USD 55 million last month, down only slightly from USD 55.1 million in May 2006. The Shreveport-Bossier City market, with five boats and the Louisiana Downs track casino, took in USD 69.5 million last month, up from USD 67.4 million in May 2006.
The two riverboats in Baton Rouge won USD 20.1 million last month, a dip from USD 21.6 million in May 2006.
The Evangeline Downs track casino at Opelousas won USD 9.4 million in May, a jump from USD 8.9 million in May 2006.
The figures do not include the state’s three Indian reservation casinos, which are not required to report their winnings publicly.