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Analyst sees double-digit decline for Louisiana casino revenue

Updated September 8, 2021 - 11:53 am

Casino companies operating in Louisiana, where casinos continue to be shuttered more than a week after Hurricane Ida made landfall, can expect double-digit percentage declines in gaming revenue, an analyst predicted Tuesday.

Carlo Santarelli, in a report to investors, said he expects a 19 percent decline in August gross gaming revenue in the state compared with 2019 figures.

Louisiana is the only market of six monitored by Santarelli and the New York office of Deutsche Bank that he expects to contract with increased revenue forecast on the Las Vegas Strip, the Las Vegas locals market, Missouri, Ohio and Indiana.

“If we assume the daily spend per measured visitor in August is akin to the 33.2 percent two-year increase in July, it would imply a 19 percent two-year gross gaming revenue decline in Louisiana in August, relative to the 9.7 percent two-year increase in July,” Santarelli’s report said “Recall, Hurricane Ida made landfall on Aug. 29.”

Ida, one of the most powerful storms in history, knocked out power in much of Louisiana.

A utility tower near Avondale collapsed into the Mississippi River to create a major outage. Avondale is across the river and southwest of downtown New Orleans.

Local authorities estimated 1 million people were without power after the Category 4 storm blasted through the region.

Casinos around New Orleans remain closed, including the largest in the market and the only land-based casino property in the state, Harrah’s New Orleans.

“Our properties, Harrah’s Gulf Coast (Biloxi, Mississippi), Harrah’s New Orleans and Belle of Baton Rouge, were all closed over the (Aug. 28) weekend in advance of Hurricane Ida’s landfall,” a Caesars Entertainment Inc. spokeswoman said last week.

Harrah’s Gulf Coast and Belle of Baton Rouge reopened last week.

“We have no timetable for the reopening of Harrah’s New Orleans. Currently, we are working with local emergency services,” she said. “We also remain focused on supporting our impacted team members in the Gulf South region.”

New Orleans-area casinos operated by Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp. and Penn National Gaming Inc. of Pennsylvania, also remain closed.

Boyd’s Treasure Chest at Lake Pontchartrain in Kenner, northwest of downtown New Orleans, and Penn’s Boomtown riverboat casino remained closed. Boomtown is south of downtown New Orleans, on the opposite side of the Mississippi River in Harvey.

A Penn National spokesman said last week that damage was still being assessed in Louisiana but that the company’s Hollywood Gulf Coast and Boomtown Biloxi properties in Mississippi reopened Aug. 31.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Review-Journal staff writers Mike Shoro and Colton Lochhead contributed to this report.

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