Sports betting closing the gap in Louisiana gambling revenue for July

Bossier City-Shreveport feels pinch from competition

By: - August 23, 2022 9:51 am

Nearly $185 million in sports wagers were placed in July in Louisiana compared with $204 million in gross gaming revenue at riverboats, race track slots casinos and Harrah's Casino in New Orleans. (Photo illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Gamblers placing bets on sports – in person and on mobile devices – are catching up to their counterparts at Louisiana’s legacy casinos in terms of money spent. According to figures from State Police, nearly $185 million in sports wagers were placed in July compared with $204 million in gross gaming revenue at riverboats, race track slots casinos and Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. 

These figures were shared Monday with members of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board during their meeting at the State Capitol. Trends show increases in revenue for most forms of gambling from June to July but decreases when compared with July 2021 figures.

Mobile sports betting wagers totaled $103 million last month. That’s still far from the $177.8 million the  riverboats and Harrah’s grossed, but comparisons with July 2021 show a decrease in what gamblers are spending. Gross revenue was down 7% at the riverboats compared with a year ago, while Harrah’s reported a 12% drop.

July results were mixed within the riverboat sector. Lake Charles, where two boats are in business, actually outperformed the five casinos in Bossier City-Shreveport by nearly $15 million. Gaming Control Board chairman Ronnie Johns said the effects of competition for Texas gamblers in northwest Louisiana are evident now that a new tribal casino has opened in Oklahoma.

Two riverboat casinos — one in Lake Charles and another in Bossier City – are currently closed.

Mobile sports wagers were down $10 million from June to July, but Johns said a significant increase in the rate of winning bets to 18.6% led to a $1 million jump in state tax revenue. Seven licensees are allowed to accept mobile sports wagers in Louisiana.   

At the state’s 17 sportsbooks, betters wagered nearly $15 million last month, with the operations netting a combined $1.4 million and paying $134,000 in state taxes. The numbers include partial month figures from the Bally’s sportsbook in Shreveport that opened July 20.

Daily fantasy sports mobile betting drew $558 million in wagers in July, producing $58,000 in net revenue for the platforms and $4,669 in state taxes.

Video gaming was the second largest tax revenue generator for the state. The more than 12,000 machines at 1,419 locations around Louisiana produced $20.2 million in tax revenue for July and $66.7 million in combined net income for their operators.

Slots casinos at four horse tracks in Louisiana reported $29.3 million in net revenue, yielding $4.5 million in state taxes.

Riverboats yielded the most taxes, with $32.7 million among the 13 casinos in July, and Harrah’s Casino paid $5.5 million in fees to the state last month.

In related news, Hollywood Casino in Baton Rouge received the Gaming Control Board’s approval to continue with its plans to move and expand its riverboat operation on land. The project includes a sportsbook and several restaurants. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2023.

Starting in September, river cruise ships will dock at the Hollywood berth, the casino’s general manager told the board. The ships are expected to bring some 500 to 600 visitors to downtown Baton Rouge.

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Greg LaRose
Greg LaRose

Greg LaRose has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana. Before coming to the Louisiana Illuminator, he was the chief investigative reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans. He previously led the government and politics team for The Times-Picayune | NOLA.com, and was editor in chief at New Orleans CityBusiness. Greg's other career stops include Tiger Rag, South Baton Rouge Journal, the Covington News Banner, Louisiana Radio Network and multiple radio stations.

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