Louisiana casinos have seen substantial declines in revenue in the last year, leading casino advocates to sound the alarm that the state’s gaming industry is shrinking.

Shreveport casinos are down 11.6 percent, Lake Charles 10 percent, New Orleans five percent, and Baton Rouge 13 percent. Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones says it’s a rough day for the industry.

“It’s troubling because we think Louisiana may be losing it’s competitive edge, and this is an industry that employs a lot of people in the state and the state is reliant on gaming revenues to operate.”

Jones says gaming revenue now exceeds oil and gas revenue in funding the state.

There was a nasty fight in the legislature to get sports betting legal in Louisiana, but that attempt failed. Jones says that, plus new offerings in other states are drawing customers away…

“Now you can drive literally from downtown Dallas and be on the world’s largest gaming floor. Competitively Louisiana is getting it’s butt kicked.

Seven casinos saw 10 percent or more declines in revenue year to year, but the Belle of Baton Rouge posted the most shocking decline, at 43 percent. Jones says the owner is trying to get out…

“They have just not put any capital back into the property, they’re just trying to keep the property open and running and trying to keep it profitable so they can sell it, but they haven’t found a buyer yet.”

On a whole, Louisiana casino revenues fell 10.2 percent from last year.

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