Casino Reopenings Draw In Gamblers Despite Online Gaming Surges


Casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana are reopening this week, and visitors are traveling long distances and waiting in lines to enter the facilities, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Casinos in Lake Charles and in the vicinity of Shreveport in addition to casinos in Baton Rouge and in the suburbs of the New Orleans area had the ability to open again beginning on Monday. Harrah’s New Orleans, however, has to stay shuttered with a mandate from Mayor LaToya Cantrell that is more stringent as the city had seen high virus activity.

One person cited in the report drove from Houston to Louisiana with her family for the reopening of casinos on Monday.

Approximately 60 individuals waited outside of Baton Rogue’s L’Auberge, while 95 waited outside of the Shreveport area’s Margaritaville at the time that doors opened. Customers reportedly cooperated with temperature checks and social distancing.

Over in Deadwood, South Dakota, 13 of the 21 casinos in have opened again. The mayor, who is also a table games manager at a local casino and hotel, said per the report that he has come across people traveling from states that are close by as well as those that have come from Florida, Texas, New Mexico and New York.

And while gamers flock to the casinos in some states, in others they are swarming online gambling sites. New Jersey’s large wager on online gambling has reportedly paid off, with revenues reaching a record high of $80 million last month. Sports gambling revenues, for their part, were significantly down as stadiums stayed shuttered and most professional games were called off because of pandemic limitations.

States have faced drops in revenue and minor decreases in sports betting, with an overall increase in earnings from digital gaming sites. New Jersey made closing orders for its physical casinos on March 16. And, even though revenue for its casinos dropped 61.7 percent that month compared to the same month the year before, its online gaming revenues over the same time frame jumped 65.7 percent.

Pennsylvania reported similar numbers, with tax revenues from brick-and-mortar gambling dropping to $50.5 million in March of this year from $67.5 million in March of last year. The state has earned $24.3 million from online gaming since the summer of last year.

And, while U.S. online gaming sites harness online payments, methods have to be licensed on a state-by-state basis, and transactions are subject to local regulations. As a result, the popularity of brick-and-mortar versus online gaming could vary by region.