Casino and gaming interests in the state are looking forward with optimism to the year 2021. After all, things really could not have gotten much worse for that industry in 2020. So, there certainly is a reason and a desire to be optimistic about what the future holds.

As you might imagine the coronavirus pandemic was the major culprit in Louisiana's lost gaming revenue from the year 2020. It's kind of hard to entertain guests when your facilities are closed. It's also hard to generate profit when your capacity is limited.

The good news is that since many of our state's gaming establishments have been allowed to reopen the numbers are showing signs of rebound and recovery. In fact, many establishments are reporting 75% to 85% of pre-pandemic revenue numbers in recent weeks.

Another fly-in-the-ointment that was the year 2020 was Mother Nature. With two big hurricanes making landfall in Southwest Louisiana gaming revenues from that part of the state were stifled not once but twice thanks to the effects of Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta.

One Lake Charles casino, the Isle of Capri, you might recall post-Hurricane Laura pictures of the casino stuck under the I-10 bridge, has yet to reopen following damage from the storm. Also, Diamond Jacks in Bossier City remains shuttered. However, that closure was more pandemic related than storm-related.

The Louisiana Casino Association estimates that our state will lose more than $100 million in revenue because of the pandemic and storm-related closures in the state. Granted, within the influx of sports wagering in some parishes, it is possible that by the end of 2021 most if not all of that revenue could be recaptured as guests return to pre-pandemic behavior.

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