ccording to figures released Thursday by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, winnings at Baton Rouge’s three riverboat casinos continue to report a year-to-year drop, bringing in 14% less in May than the year before.
The state's 15 riverboat casinos, four racinos and land-based casino generated nearly $218 million in winnings in May. That was down 2% from the $222.5 million they took in during May 2018, The Advocate reports.
Video poker revenue was up 7.1% statewide in May to $54.2 million from $50.6 million.
Once again, a big drop at the Belle of Baton Rouge caused the market to fall short of last year's figures. Winnings by the city's oldest casino were $2.6 million, 46.5% less than the $4.9 million brought in the year before. Hollywood Baton Rouge, the other downtown riverboat, posted $4.7 million in winnings, 12.7% behind the $5.4 million last year. L'Auberge Baton Rouge brought in $13.2 million, 2.9% behind the $13.6 million it won last year.
The Baton Rouge market hasn't posted a year-to-year increase in casino winnings since August 2017. Local experts have said the slide has been made worse by the smoking ban enacted in June 2018. Hollywood and L'Auberge have opened designated areas where people can smoke while they gamble.
Gambling revenue in New Orleans was up 0.2% in May to $54.5 million, one of only two markets to post a year-to-year winnings gain.
The three riverboats had a 3.9% gain in winnings to $24.3 million from $23.4 million. Boomtown New Orleans was the biggest gainer, bringing in 5.8% more to $10.3 million from $9.8 million. The Amelia Belle in Amelia was up 4.7% to $4.1 million from $3.9 million. Treasure Chest had a 1.8% increase to $9.9 million from $9.7. The slots at the Fair Grounds racetrack were up 6.2% to $3.7 million from $3.5 million.