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Ohio competition sends Indiana casino revenues down

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Indiana's riverboat casino revenues fell 4.4 percent in March, dragged down by declines at two southeastern Indiana venues that faced their first month of head-to-head competition with a Cincinnati casino, according to figures released Tuesday by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Revenue at Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, the state's second largest, fell 25 percent compared to the same month last year, and revenue at the Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun fell 23 percent, the figures showed.

The Hollywood decline amounted to $9.8 million, and Rising Star's revenues fell about $2 million, The Indianapolis Star reported.

In Ohio, the new $400 million Horseshoe Cincinnati casino opened March 4 and raked in $21 million during March, the Ohio Casino Control Commission reported Monday.

Steve Jimenez, general manager at Rising Star, attributed most of the decline at his operation to Horseshoe.

"Obviously when a casino opens, everyone goes and checks it out," he said. "Eventually they go back to the places they like to go to, but some don't."

Indiana lawmakers have a stake in the riverboats' fortunes because casino taxes account for the third largest source of revenue for state government, and they're trying to agree on legislation that would help Indiana casinos become more competitive.

A bill approved Tuesday by the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee would remove a tax on free-play coupons that casinos use to lure visitors. Ohio does not tax free play. The casino industry also wants to allow riverboat casinos to move ashore and to allow live table games at the state's two horse track-casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville. The racinos now have only slot and video machines.

Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown said the bill likely will undergo changes when the House and Senate iron out the differences in their separate versions of the bill.

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  • Interesting
    Seems to me that Hoosiers are better at handling free access to casinos than they are free access to McDonalds. A gambling addiction isn't going to kill you, but being obese is. If you want to create a nanny state, at least create a beneficial one.
  • Get out of Gambling
    Any one who has been to a horse racing track, or stood in line where lottery tickets are sold, knows that many people who gamble are the least able to pay for it. Being able to gamble is anyone's right and government should only step in when laws are being broken by the gamblers such as cheating. Should the State be the House though? It seems to me to be a contradiction to be both in business of taxing people to give to the poor, and in the business of helping people become poor. Maybe we should react to the gambiing in other states by opening gambling rehabilatation centers near the border where gambling establishments are in other states.
  • Subsidy!
    OH NO!!!!!! Now how are we going to subsidize vehicle ownership and highway expansions?!?!

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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