Harrah’s Casino Blames Smoking Ban For 2nd Drop In Monthly Take

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Revenue dropped 30 percent in June at Harrah's New Orleans Hotel & Casino.

         It was the second consecutive monthly drop. And The New Orleans Advocate’s Marsha Shuler reports that the facility's top executive put most of the blame on the city's indoor smoking ban.

         Dan Real, general manager of Harrah's New Orleans, asked the state Gaming Control Board on Thursday for support in efforts to change legal requirements that dictate how many employees the casino must hire, as well as restrictions on the land-based casino's ability to generate revenues with non-gambling activities.

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         The state's monthly casino report showed Harrah's had $20.7 million in revenues in June 2015, which is $9.2 million less than what was reported in June 2014.

         The June totals are worse than last month's report comparing May 2015 to May 2014, which saw a 16 percent drop.

         Monthly receipts fluctuate depending on weather, conventions in town and other factors. Also, Harrah's had a couple of big winners in June, he said.

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         But Real said the main reason for the sharp drop off is that a lot of gamblers want to smoke and don't like going outside to do so. Real said it is clear that "the frustration exists."

         As a consequence, many gamblers are going to nearby riverboat casinos, where smoking at gaming tables and slot machines is allowed, or they're not gambling as long, if at all.

         Of course, non-smokers are happy with the ban, Real said, adding, "We hear every single voice and we are trying to help."

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