BATON ROUGE (The Center Square) — Louisiana gambling and sports betting continued a downward trend in May, which experts say is linked to raging inflation.
Louisiana’s casinos and racinos (combined racetrack and casino facilities) took up $171.1 million in sports betting last month, with about $28.4 million in retail betting and about $142.6 through mobile betting. Those numbers translated into $2.4 million in taxes from the mobile sportsbook and about $268,209 from retail.
Mobile sports betting peaked at $211 million in bets in February, the first full month it was legal in Louisiana, and has gradually declined since. In all, there has been nearly $786 million in mobile betting for 2022, generating nearly $10.3 million in taxes, according to data from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
While May’s mobile bets came in much less than April’s, last month’s hold was 15%, compared to just 1.8% in April.
“We’ve collected more taxes with $44 million less in bets,” LGCB chairman Ronnie Johns said at the June 16 board meeting. “That’s what the profit ration will do for you.”
Johns noted that retail and mobile sports betting has generated about $12.6 million in taxes paid since it was legalized last year.
“We’re off to a good start,” he said.
With retail betting, stakes placed increased nearly $6 million from April to approximately $28.5 million, with 9.4% holdings bringing in nearly $2.7 million in returns. While those numbers have fluctuated throughout the year, they’re much less than the $49 million peak in January.
Retail totals for 2022 include nearly $222 million in betting, $22.8 million in revenue and $2.3 million in taxes paid.
In terms of gambling, state-regulated casinos reported a 9.2% drop in winnings in May, bringing in $207.3 million, or about $21 million less than May 2021. Only two of the state’s 18 gambling establishments posted year-over-year gains: L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles and Boomtown Bossier City Casino.
“I’ve been on the phone with a number of operators in the state over the past few weeks and there’s some concern about what’s going on with the economy, the price of gasoline, people traveling, the inflation rates, the high interest rates,” he said. johns. “Some of these numbers are starting to reflect some of those concerns.”
“It’s something we can’t do much about, but it’s something that we’re going to keep an eye on and we’ll be watching those numbers very closely,” he said.
Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, has also pointed out that gas prices and inflation negatively impact discretionary income, fueling the downward trend in the state’s tourist-dependent gambling markets, according to The Advocate.
Video poker revenues also fell 18.6% in May from the same time last year, from $77.6 million in May 2021 to $69.4 million last month, according to the news site.
Officials said last month that the decline in video poker, which is generated at vending machines in truck stops, bars and restaurants, is likely a result of the legalization of mobile sports betting in Louisiana.