An improving economy appears to be bringing players back to US casinos, as extra money dropped at slots and tables refuels industry growth. Louisiana and Mississippi report its states casino March revenue increased 5.8 percent to $227.9m and 3.9 percent $220.4m, respectively.
All four casino markets in Louisiana posted year-on-year revenue gains in March, with the state’s 12 riverboat casinos up 5.3 percent to $154.1m, Harrah’s downtown New Orleans casino up 6.2 percent to $35.8m and gaming at the state’s four racetracks raking in $38m.
Louisiana is back on track to re-confirm its status as one of the gambling hotspots in the US, after the state’s casino industry took a severe hit in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In Atlantic City, currently the nation’s third largest gaming market, March revenue across its twelve casinos was only $38.4m higher at $266.3m.
The last two months show Louisiana starting a road back to recovery, as its casinos posted 8.7 percent and 5.8 percent revenue increases in February and March, respectively. Three additional riverboat gaming facilities are also soon due to open in Lake Charles, Baton Rouge and Shreveport-Bossier City.
Joe Weinert, Spectrum Gaming Group Analyst, commented, “Most jurisdictions would be happy with a 5.8 percent growth, especially during a time when people aren’t feeling good about their finances.”
Mississippi gaming revenue at the state’s 29 gaming facilities increased 3.9 percent year-on-year to $220.4m in March. The 11 casinos in the Gulf Coast saw revenue rise 4.8 percent to $101.6m, the region’s largest win since July 2009.
The 18 casinos along the Mississippi river saw revenues increase 3.1 percent to $118.8m year-on-year, including the closure of Vicksburg’s Grand Station casino in March.
March is typically one of the big months for the US casino business as income tax refund cheques are issued. But gaming and financial analysts say casino gambling has somewhat benefitted from a recovering economy.
Both southern states gain most their casino patronage from US citizens. Revenue increases in both state’s show signs of an improving economy with more disposable revenue to wager at casinos.
Louisiana is one of the few states with a bill in place that explicitly bans online gambling and Mississippi’s recent attempts to pass legislation were dismissed by the Gaming committee.
Both regions therefore need to focus on quickly gaining patronage back into their respective facilities before other State’s rev up competition with online gambling activities for US citizens.