Louisiana casinos win $232.1 million in July

Published 3:34 pm Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Louisiana’s state-licensed casinos won $232.1 million last month, taking advantage of the Fourth of July weekend in one of the industry’s typically big months.

With an additional gambling outlet open — the slot machine casino at the New Orleans Fair Grounds — it wasn’t much more than in July 2007 when gamblers dropped $228.3 million in the machines and on the tables.

Louisiana’s 13 riverboat casinos won $164.8 million last month, Harrah’s downtown casino in New Orleans won $32.5 million and the four track casinos took in $34.8 million, state police reported Tuesday.

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In June 2008, gamblers lost $214.1 million.

The casino markets heavily dependent upon Texas gamblers — Shreveport-Bossier City and Lake Charles — recorded big months, despite high fuel prices that have been blamed for slumping nationwide gambling revenue.

The three riverboats in Lake Charles, along with the Delta Downs casino at Vinton, won $60.6 million, up from $58.6 million in July 2007. The five boats in Shreveport-Bossier City, along with the Louisiana Downs casino, took in $79.4 million, up from $76.2 million in July 2007.

In the New Orleans market, which includes the downtown casino, the two riverboats won $24.9 million and the Fair Grounds tossed in another $2.5 million for a total of $59.5 million. Gamblers lost $59.8 million in that market in July 2007.

The two riverboats in Baton Rouge won $18.5 million last month, a drop from $20.1 million in July 2007.

The Amelia Belle riverboat near Morgan City won $4.6 million last month, virtually unchanged from July 2007.

The Evangeline Downs track casino at Opelousas won $9 million last month, compared with $9.1 million in July 2007.

In neighboring Mississippi, the state-licensed casinos won $249.3 million in July, down from $267.7 million in July 2007, the State Tax Commission said. Mississippi casinos along the coast have faced increasing competition from Indian reservation casinos in Florida, compounded by high gasoline prices, analysts have said.

Neither state’s figures include Indian reservation casinos, which are not required to report their revenue to the public.