The American Gaming Association’s annual report showcasing 2018 casino revenue indicates Louisiana remained flat at just over $2.5 billion, generating just over $600 million in total tax revenue for the state. Casino Association of Louisiana Executive Director Wade Duty says the rest of the nation is evolving due to consumer demand, but Louisiana is falling behind.
“We kind of remain locked into a 25-year-old business model, so most of the nation trended actually trended upwards in gaming revenue, but we are flat, if not in a slight decline,” said Duty.
The Baton Rouge market saw a steep 17.4% gaming revenue drop last year, and Duty says a big contributing factor is likely the city-wide ban on smoking in bars and casinos put into place in May of 2018.
“People that advocate for the ban correctly point out that this market was in a slow decline, but if you actually chart it out on a graph you can see that it just falls off of the cliff after the implementation,” said Duty.
While Duty says he is more optimistic about incoming lawmakers to be more open to the gaming industry, the failure of the most recent legislative session to legalize sports betting will also combat revenue growth. Duty adds more of a dip is making casinos hesitant to move on land.
“It’s hard to make that case for a publicly traded company to continue to look at Louisiana to invest those dollars, when you’ve got other jurisdictions that are much more business friendly,” said Duty.