Louisiana has officially opened Queen Baton’s first land-based casino after the appropriately named “Queen Baton Rouge and DraftKings Sportsbook” swung open its doors for the first time.
The casino’s opening night drew more than 1,000 guests who graced the new 100,000 square-foot casino. Welcome remarks were made by Terry Downey, CEO and President of The Queen Gaming & Entertainment Inc., the Mayor-President of Baton Rouge Sharon Weston Broome, the Queen Baton Rouge General Manager Matthew Shehadi, former LSU Tiger and NFL quarterback Matt Flynn and finally Ronnie Johns, Chairman of the state’s regulatory body: the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
The doors opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony which saw Lydia Chenevert, who has worked at the Queen Baton Rouge for 30 years and the first ceremonial sportsbook wager was placed by Flynn.
The state of Louisiana now has two land-based casino venues, with the remaining 13 commercial casino properties being riverboats. The Queen Baton Rouge was formerly a riverboat and called Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge. The other casino, Harrah’s New Orleans has until now been referred to in state statute as the “official gaming establishment” but this may change with Queen Baton Rouge now open.
Harrah’s New Orleans casino opened back in 1999 but will now face competition from a land-based destination for the first time. Per Louisiana Gaming Control Board revenue report, Harrah’s had 209,048 admissions in the month of July, generating $17.5 million GGR. This was down 11.9% month-over-month from June 2023. It was also down year-over-year by 22.8% from July 2022’s $22.6 million in gross gaming revenue. This marks the worst July since the global pandemic heavily impacted 2020’s results. Attendance was down 30% on FY21’s figure, and 24% on last year.
For the month of July, Louisiana mobile sports betting took $122.5 million in handle and $15.7 million net revenue, with the retail sportsbook taking 9% of wagers, which is strong compared to many states where the advent of online wagering has battered the retail industry.