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Louisiana Casinos Continue Road To Revenue Recovery

Louisiana casinos have had to deal with much more than casinos around the US when it comes to recovering from the economic recession. Not only did the casinos have to deal with the effects of the recession, but they were still trying to deal with the aftershock of Hurricane Katrina.

In March, revenue at Louisiana casinos jumped for the second straight month. In February, casino revenue was up 8.7%, and in March, the casino revenue jumped 5.8%. The back-to-back increases has some gaming executives believing that the worst may now be behind the gaming industry in the state.

"Most jurisdictions would be happy with a 5.8% growth," said Spectrum Gaming Group Analyst Joe Weinert. "especially at a time when people aren't feeling good about their finances."

For the month of March, the 17 gaming facilities in Louisiana brought in $227.9 million in revenue. That was up from the $215.4 million in the same period in 2011. Riverboat gambling remains the main source of the revenue in the state. The 12 riverboat casinos won $154.1 million in March.

Other factors also go into the gaming industry figures in Louisiana. Mardi Gras always brings hundreds of thousands of people to the state each year, and this year the Mardi Gras celebrations started earlier than in year's past. Mother Nature has also played a big part in gaming revenue in Louisiana over the past decade.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the state, leaving some casinos to close for months. Even the casinos that re-opened had millions of dollars in damage, leading to a period of revenue decline in the aftermath of the hurricane. Then, last year, casinos were forced to close due to flooding, leading to another drop in revenue.

Louisiana, like Nevada, Mississippi, and New Jersey, is now dealing with competition that was not present before the recession. Dozens of states have expanded their gaming laws to allow casinos, and that has taken customers away from the four hot-spots once considered the top gaming destinations in the country. Pennsylvania has become the second largest gaming destination in terms of revenue in the US. Pennsylvania surpassed New Jersey for that title earlier this year.

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