In a major reversal of fortune, Louisiana casino revenue vaulted 18.5% over September 2021. Foot traffic rose 41.5%, which more than made up for thriftier gamblers: On average they lost 16% less per player. It helped the year/year comparison that Louisiana in autumnal 2o21 was still reeling from Hurricane Ida. However, even compared to the previous peak (2019) the numbers were 3% higher. Even sports betting is showing signs of life, with $32 million in revenue derived from handle of $207.5 million.
Not all markets benefited. Baton Rouge was in the doldrums with even L’Auberge Baton Rouge (pictured) flat at $13 million. Belle of Baton Rouge tumbled 21% to $1 million and Hollywood Baton Rouge slipped 10% to $4 million. Lake Charles saw a bonanza though, with Golden Nugget rocketing 41% to $32 million, past L’Auberge du Lac‘s $30 million (+14%), while Delta Downs gained 12.5% to achieve $13.5 million. Boyd Gaming‘s two rural properties fared poorly, however, with Amelia Belle sinking 10% to $3 million and Evangeline Downs down 12.5% to $6 million.
Everything was copacetic in the Big Easy. Harrah’s New Orleans catapulted 188% to $23 million, its next closest competitor being Boomtown New Orleans, up 18.5% to $9.5 million. Treasure Chest leapt 20% to $7 million and Fair Grounds racino vaulted 66% to $3 million. Shreveport/Bossier City casinos were revenue-negative across the board. The market leader far and away remains Margaritaville with its $16 million (-3%). Next closest was Horseshoe Bossier City, down 3% to $10.5 million. Also-rans in the area were Boomtown Bossier ($4 million, -4.5%), Bally’s Shreveport ($8 million, -2.5%), Sam’s Town ($3 million, -6%) and troubled Louisiana Downs ($3 million, -17%). At least the Shreveport casinos appear to have bottomed out from the city’s smoking ban. Louisiana Downs faces a more uncertain future now that it is no longer part of the Caesars Entertainment empire.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt‘s high-handed attitude toward Native American casinos may come back to bite him in the butt on Nov. 8. Gaming-enabled tribes are putting their not-inconsiderable fiscal muscle behind challenger Joy Hoffmeister (D). The gaffe- and blunder-plagued Stitt administration is still smarting from a losing effort to arm-twist the state’s tribes into coughing up more revenue-sharing dollars, a fight that saw Stitt thoroughly routed—but not repentant. He got even with his tribal adversaries by breaking hunting and fishing compacts with them. “He seems to have enjoyed this fight, relishes it and points to it as a badge of honor,” GOP pollster Pat McFerron said. “It’s almost like he’s taunting them.” We have no opinion on Hoffmeister but wouldn’t be sorry to see Stitt evicted next month. As he sows, so may he reap.
Arizona sports books made $36 million in August and shelled out $8.5 million of that in promotions, on handle of $361 million. FanDuel edged hard-charging DraftKings, $12 million to $11 million, while BetMGM booked $7 million and Caesars Sportsbook $3.5 million. Those four competitors accounted for 93% of all revenue. Such a cutthroat sports-betting environment has claimed another casualty. Fubo Sportsbook is going belly-up following a “strategic review.” Said parent FuboTV, “While multiple parties expressed interest in the business, none of these opportunities would have allowed Fubo to lower its funding requirements and generate sufficient returns to shareholders. As a result, FuboTV will close its Fubo Gaming subsidiary and cease operation of its owned-and-operated Fubo Sportsbook effective immediately.” The company had only succeeded in penetrating three states: Arizona, Iowa and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Fubo’s sports betting czar, Scott “Woody” Butera will have to update his resumé yet again.
We have a bit more color on that Caesars Palace proposed for Times Square. It would be built atop and around the theater currently playing The Lion King at 1515 Broadway. Would-be developers make an argument sure to appeal to the tax-hungry New York State government: “Because we are proposing a renovation, once the license is issued, we can open quicker than other facilities, which require entirely new construction, changes in law and will be disruptive to their local communities,” said SL Green Realty CEO Marc Holliday. SL Green will bear most of the expense burden, while Caesars cost-savvily licenses its brand and manages the property. The two companies also promise to improve security and (ha!) traffic in Times Square. Several other casino firms continue to orbit the Five Boroughs but so far only Wynn Resorts and Caesars have come in for landing.
Jottings: Yes, that was a camel you saw the other night in the In-N-Out Burger drive-through lane. Its keeper said the dromedary was rescued from its Colorado keeper and now lives in a Las Vegas sanctuary—and has a craving for french fries. We’ve can’t argue with its taste or its choice of eateries … Boyd Gaming has broken ground on a $100 million onshore pavilion (above) that will replace its Treasure Chest riverboat casino opposite New Orleans. The project, which will take at least a year, will eventually add 10,000 square feet of convention space and a FanDuel-branded sports book … Palms Casino Resort continues to be a problem child for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Its computer system was breached, taking its Web site down and potentially exposing customer information, about which Palms had no comment … Tilman Fertitta continues to play the blushing maiden with details of what his Las Vegas Strip megaresort will offer and when he’ll build it. It will, at any rate, be a vast improvement on the ancient Travelodge motel and sundry retailers currently occupying the acreage. He’s already got the trade unions in his corner, too … In a coup for Pechanga Resort Casino, it has become the exclusive tribal-casino partner for the Los Angeles Clippers. Perks of the deal include in-stadium signage, and Pechanga branding on both Clippers broadcasts and Web pages. The tribe has marketing deals with six other SoCal teams and has put its chips on the Proposition 26 electoral push.