Louisiana and Texas are bracing for an extremely dangerous hurricane Wednesday evening, one that reportedly threatens some of the brick-and-mortar casinos in the Pelican State.
The storm surge from Hurricane Laura reportedly will be as high as 20 feet. The projected path of the devastating storm puts Lake Charles, La., directly in its cross-hairs. According to LakeCharles.org, the area has four gambling facilities: Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Golden Nugget Lake Charles, Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel, and L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles.
The Weather Channel reported that the casinos could see more than nine feet of storm surge.
Storm surge is a major concern with Hurricane Laura. Parts of the Louisiana coast could see 10-15 ft. or even 20 ft. of surge. pic.twitter.com/x4HRGjkIlX
— Anthony Macari (@Anthony_Macari) August 26, 2020
On Tuesday, Golden Nugget announced that it was closing due to the incoming storm.
“Golden Nugget Lake Charles announced today that the casino will be temporarily closing on August 25th at 2:00 p.m. due to the impact of Hurricane Laura,” the casino posted on Facebook more than 24 hours before the hurricane was expected to make landfall. “The safety and well-being of our guests and team members is our top priority. We will be in contact with local officials monitoring when it is safe to reopen the casino.”
The other local casinos also closed due to the hurricane.
BREAKING: National Hurricane Center says Laura is now an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane as it barrels down on the Gulf Coast. Forecasters project a 20-foot storm surge that would be "unsurvivable” and capable of sinking entire communities. https://t.co/aAyJcK5BYU
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 26, 2020
1 PM CDT: #Laura is now an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane with maximum winds of 140 MPH. Little time remains to protect life and property before water levels begin to rise and winds increase in the warning areas https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/6f9tvionaR
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) August 26, 2020
Tough time for Lake Charles casinos
Though the casinos reopened relatively early compared to casinos in other states, it has still been a hard summer for the properties. The Lake Charles casino market was down 6% year-over-year in July.
That’s not what Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, Landry’s, and Penn National Gaming were hoping for, but the performance isn’t that bad considering the pandemic is still ongoing.
Hurricane Laura will keep the casinos closed for at least a few days, though it’s unclear what kind of damage the properties could sustain due to the storm.
Furthermore, infrastructure in Lake Charles apparently is vulnerable to the storm, potentially restricting access to the casinos in the storm’s aftermath, whenever that may be.
Among the many things I'm worried about with Hurricane Laura is the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles. It has a sufficiency rating of 7.6 out of 100. To put that in context, the Interstate 35 West bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed in 2007 had a sufficiency rating of 50.
— Sara Sneath (@SaraSneath) August 26, 2020