Study says two Bossier casinos should move from market

By Sean Green, sean@bizmagsb.com

A recent study recommends that two riverboat casinos in Bossier City relocate.

Spectrum Gaming Group of Horscham, Penn., released last month a report for Louisiana Economic Development, titled, “Comprehensive Gaming Industry Analysis: State of Louisiana.”

In the study, Spectrum recommends that Boomtown move to the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and Diamond Jacks relocate to northeast Louisiana, saying their revenues and the taxes to the state would both increase.

Boomtown’s 2018 revenue totaled $56.5 million. Spectrum estimates that would almost double to $100 million and Louisiana’s gaming tax would increase by around $9 million with a move. 

Diamond Jacks gross revenue totaled $38.1 million in 2018.  The study estimates they would increase their revenue by $21.9 million while the state would see an increase of $4.7 million in taxes.

Spectrum determined that there is too much gaming capacity in the “declining” Shreveport-Bossier City market due to the impact of tribal casinos in Oklahoma drawing patrons from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The study notes that the market was the strongest of any region for the first 15 years of gaming in Louisiana until  Indian tribes in Oklahoma began to develop casinos along the Texas border in 2002.

“Texans poured across the border from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to enjoy the casinos in the market. Beginning in 2002…WinStar and Choctaw Durant, have become full-fledged gaming resorts featuring hotels, spas, restaurants and other amenities,” said the report. “Each is less than a two-hour drive from downtown Dallas, whereas Shreveport is three hours from Dallas.”

The study shows a decline in the market’s gross gaming revenue, with the market down 21 percent since 2007. 

“Some of the decline was due to the Great Recession, but the long and continuing growth of the Oklahoma properties has left the market overserved by casinos. In 2007 there were seven operators generating $852 million in GGR, or an average of $121.7 million per operator. In 2018 the revenue per operator averaged $96.6 million,” the study notes.

Penn National Gaming, owners of Boomtown, released a statement to local media saying they are “proud of our operations at Boomtown Bossier City and have no intention of seeking its relocation.”

The state currently has 15 riverboat licensed casinos. Shreveport-Bossier has six riverboat casinos, plus Harrah’s Louisiana Downs horse track. 

The report follows up on a year of changes for the gaming industry in Louisiana. 

A new law approved last year allows the riverboats to move certain operations on land as long as any new facilities stay within 1,200 feet of their docking site and removes the limitation on gaming space. And voters approved fantasy sports betting last November. 

Spectrum Gaming Group is a non-partisan consultancy that specializes in the economics, regulation and policy of legalized gambling worldwide. They provided independent research and professional services to public- and private-sector clients.