n recent months, the year-to-year comparison in gambling revenue has been lagging. In June, the take was down 4.5 % from June 2009. July is typically a strong month for casinos, taking in a major holiday weekend. In addition, New Orleans likely received a boost from the Essence Music Festival, which brought thousands to the city.
But it's too early to say whether the Louisiana casino business is coming out of a downturn - or whether July was a one-time event, said Grant Govertsen, an analyst with Las Vegas-based Union Gaming Group, which follows the industry.
Govertsen said Louisiana, with its regional and local markets, could have taken some of the holiday business that normally might have found its way to Las Vegas and other tourist destination markets. "Clearly, the broader economy is not strong," he said. "That's reflected in destination markets like Las Vegas."
The Shreveport-Bossier City market and the Lake Charles market are heavily dependent upon Texas gamblers. Govertsen also said the oil spill cleanup workers who have come to the state might have provided a marginal boost in the take. "We'd like to see a number of months before we say Louisiana is out the doldrums," he said.
Last month, the riverboats won us$ 152 million, Harrah's won us$ 31.8 million and the track casinos won us$ 35.6 million.
Among the state's casino markets:
- The five riverboats and the Louisiana Downs track casino that make up the Shreveport-Bossier City market won us$ 71.5 million, down only slightly from us$ 72.3 million in July 2009.
- In Lake Charles, three riverboats and the Delta Downs track casino took in us$ 60.4 million, compared with us$ 61.9 million in July 2009.
- In the New Orleans market, two riverboats, along with the land casino and the Fair Grounds race track won us$ 57.4 million, an increase from us$ 54.8 million in July 2009.
- The two riverboats in Baton Rouge won us$ 16.8 million, down from us$ 17.9 million in July 2009.
- The Evangeline Downs track casino at Lafayette won $8.6 million, down from $9.4 million in July 2009.
- The riverboat in the Morgan City area won $4.8 million last month, up from $4.4 million in July 2009.
The figures do not include the three Indian reservation casinos in Louisiana, which are not required to report their winnings to the public.