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Sep same store rev increased 15% in Louisiana. However, the comp was easy (-23% last year) due to the hurricane and the Labor Day shift. The 2 Yr comp fell 12%.

On the surface, the Louisiana market looks very strong.  Same store revenue increased 15%, but off of a -23% comparison.  Hurricane Gustav hit in September of last year resulting in the closure of several properties including L'auberge du Lac, Boomtown New Orleans, Delta Downs, and Treasure Chest.  Moreover, as we wrote about in our 10/02/09 post, "APPLES TO APPLES", gaming markets were aided by Labor Day weekend falling in September of this year versus August of last year.

Looking at Louisiana over a two year perspective is more instructive.  The following delta chart shows gaming revenue growth over that period.  Not only was two year same store revenue down 12%, the delta line (3 month moving average) does not appear to be improving. 

LA BLOWS SEP OUT OF THE WATER - NOT REALLY - LA delta chart Sept 2 YR

PNK maintains the most exposure to Louisiana and Q3 numbers look pretty good.  However, for all of the regionals we continue to be concerned with the prospect of a more prolonged downturn.  As we've written about, gas prices will reverse to a significant headwind beginning in December - projected to be up as much as 50% nationally - and running through May 2010.  We previously determined that gas prices are statistically significant in predicting gaming revenues.