Riverboat casino revenues were down 1.7% over the same time in 2014, and the state of Louisiana is beginning to panic over what may be a major loss of revenue for the state. Louisiana is in a unique position because of its lack of industry, tourism sector in New Orleans and massive poverty in other parts of the state. The reduction in riverboat casinos revenue could be due to a number of factors, and state leaders have to take a hard look at what to do.
The Riverboat Is Old School
The idea of a riverboat casino is very whimsical, and people who come to the riverboats once often do not return in the future. The riverboat has become a nice one-time event, and many people would prefer to go into New Orleans to have their fun. There is a war being fought between what people would do in New Orleans and the restrictions tourists face on riverboats. Riverboats cannot many guests, and other boats have no lodging at all. The riverboats are at a decided disadvantage, and New Orleans was the only place not hit by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is spotless, but the rivers of the state are not clean and inviting.
What About Traditional Casinos
The Golden Nugget and Lake Charles casinos are major players in the gaming market in Louisiana, but the people of the state do not have enough disposable income to keep revenues as high as state leaders would like. The money that is made from each casino is going into a pot that helps pay for needed services, but the state’s quality of life cannot keep up with the progressing economy.
More industry must be added to the state in order to help improve the quality of life, and each casino cannot pay for a change in the state economy by itself. State leaders are charged with finding new ways to keep the state solvent, and gambling opponents still claim that gambling has ruined too many families in the state. Louisiana cannot afford to lose over $200 million in revenue, but the number cannot go up without more middle class citizens.
New Orleans Tourism Is Fleeting
New Orleans is one of the most beautiful cities in America, but the city has become something of a powder keg for those who want to avoid bad weather. New Orleans sits a few feet below sea level, and the failure of the sea walls during Hurricane Katrina makes travelers nervous. Someone who is nervous about bad weather will stay away from the city no matter what time of year it is.
Other tourists arrive in the city during the fall and Mardi Gras without visiting for the summer. Travelers like to come to New Orleans for Saints games, and college football fans will come down from Baton Rouge after LSU plays. The Mardi Gras week is the busiest of the year, but the festival is something that people enjoy in the spring. Most travelers do not return in the summer, and the state misses out on revenue from people who have already paid a visit to the state.
Louisiana Is Hard To Get To
The international airport outside New Orleans is not host to many flights every day, and tourists have a hard time getting into the city. People who want to drive to the state must make their way down difficult highways that pass through the coasts of Mississippi, Texas and Alabama. There are several places to stop on each coast, and many tourists would rather stop earlier before reaching Louisiana.
More Aggressive Marketing
The marketing strategy for the state of Louisiana must be improved to bring in more tourists. Every state in the union has some sort of marketing plan that encourages tourism, but New Orleans has a national appeal that the state can use in marketing. The state hopes to make millions of dollars from its casinos every year, but the state must be willing to pay more money to bring people to those casinos. The casinos can only do so much, but the state can fill its own pocket by helping bring down new customers.
Racetracks in Louisiana are home to many local gamblers who like to come to the track every weekend, and those racetracks play a big part in the state’s revenue stream. Local tracks have slot machines that make a significant amount of money, and money made from the horses is equally substantial. The locals who gamble at the track only have so much money to spend, but the tourists who have money to spend often miss these tracks in favor of riverboats or casinos.
The state is at war with itself over how much money it can produce from gambling pursuits, and the racetracks of the state are producing less than every other property. Animal rights activists want the tracks shut down, but these tracks are frequented by people who live in the community. The state of Louisiana is obligated to ensure these tracks are as profitable as possible, and every track owner must ensure that their operation is marketed properly.
The state of Louisiana is facing a crisis in its gambling revenues. The revenues are slowly dropping, and the state does not have a large population that provides property tax money or sales tax money. The tourists and middle class are populating these casinos, but there is only so much money to go around. A drop of 1.7% in revenues may not seem like much, but a few drops of that magnitude could cost the state money it uses to provide services, fund schools and social programs for its citizens.