he 13 riverboats, Harrah's downtown New Orleans casino and the four slot machine casinos at race tracks took in us$ 218.1 million, compared with us$ 229.6 million in March 2008. The tally also was a 1.8 % drop from the us$ 222 million casinos won during the Mardi Gras month of February 2009.
Last month, the riverboats won us$ 150.1 million, the New Orleans casino won us$ 32 million and the track casinos won us$ 36 million.
Despite the decrease, Louisiana's casino industry appeared to continue faring much better than its competitive counterparts in other states. Nevada casinos posted a February-to-February drop of 18.1 % in gambling revenue. New Jersey recorded a March-to-March drop of 19 %, and Mississippi saw its revenue fall 10.6 % from March 2008 to March 2009.
The recession has cut away at discretionary income, and many states also are facing new competition for gambling dollars. New Jersey, for example, has gotten new slot-machine competition from Pennsylvania, and some Florida gamblers are opting for new Indian reservation casinos instead of casinos on the Mississippi Gulf coast.
In Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier City continued to vie with Oklahoma's Indian reservation casinos for Texas players. As in other states, a chill on credit - including credit for new casino projects - has hit Louisiana. On Tuesday, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board issued 150-day delays in timelines for Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.'s plans for new riverboat casinos in Lake Charles and Baton Rouge. That comes on top of 90-day delays approved in February.
Among the state's gambling markets in March: Shreveport-Bossier City, which has five boats and the Louisiana Downs casino, took in us$ 69.4 million last month, down from us$ 73.3 million in March 2008.
Lake Charles, which also depends heavily on Texas gamblers to play at three riverboats and the Delta Downs track casino, registered us$ 58.1 million in winnings in March, compared with us$ 58.6 million in March 2008.
The New Orleans area, which has the land casino, two riverboats and the Fair Grounds track casino, won us$ 58.4 million, a drop from us$ 64.8 million a year earlier. Harrah's saw its take fall from us$ 37.4 million to us$ 32 million.
Baton Rouge's two riverboats took in us$ 18.8 million last month, down from us$ 19.2 million in March 2008. The Morgan City area's lone riverboat won us$ 4.6 million last month and in March 2008.
Opelousas' Evangeline Downs track casino took in us$ 8.7 million, down from us$ 9.2 million in March 2008. The figures do not include the three Indian reservation casinos in Louisiana, which are not required to report their winnings to the public.