Pandemic cost LA $100M in loss casino tax revenue

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The Louisiana casino industry had a difficult 2020 with forced closures for almost two months, reduced capacity and one casino shut its doors for good. Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty said this will result in a loss of taxes revenues for the state

“All in with the reduced ability to support customer demand and the non-gaming amenities, the loss to the state will be in excess of $100-million,” said Duty.

Non-gaming losses include revenue from concerts, restaurants, and bars at casino venues. Duty said even with the gaming numbers showing a rebound of 75 to 85-percent since reopening, being unable to offset non-gaming revenue, the industry continues to struggle.

“The non-gaming revenue is really taking a beating just like it is in the rest of the entertainment and dining sectors,” said Duty.

Diamond Jacks in Bossier City was the casino that closed this year, and the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles has yet to reopen from hurricane damage. Duty said casinos are anxious for legal sports betting to take place in Louisiana, but the state legislature has to establish regulations and a tax structure.

“The work ahead is to define what sports wagering would look like, how it’s offered, and to hopefully ensure that the tax rate associated with it is a realistic one,” said Duty.

Duty said Louisiana casinos were suffering from competition in neighboring states before the pandemic and COVID restrictions only added to the downturn. He also said many players, especially seniors have been reluctant to return to casinos since they reopened.

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