Indiana casino revenues continue to tumble

While overall state funds continue to grow, one revenue source in particular is under water: Riverboat casinos.

Revenue from the state’s 10 casinos was down 31.2% from what had been expected in August, according to monthly revenue report released by the State Budget Agency. And that represents a 26.9% drop from August 2018.

In all, the casinos brought in around $7.8 million, well short of the $11.4 million the state had been hoping for.

The shortfalls continue a trend. Matt Bell, president and CEO of the Casino Association of Indiana, said the decline has been happening since 2009.

“That drop is a reflection of a number of things, perhaps most importantly, increased competition from neighboring states,” Bell said. “Ohio’s entry into the markets, the continued expansion in Illinois and Michigan all had an impact on us.”

Bell said some people also seem to be wary about the economy right now, to the point where they are saving their money instead of going to the casinos.

Meanwhile, the two racinos–the combination horse-racing tracks and casinos in Shelbyville and Anderson—saw an increase in revenue. They brought in $8.6 million in August, which was 11.5 percent more than expected. They are up 1.6 percent from a year ago.

Bell credited that improvement to a combination of the geography of the racinos (they are located near Indianapolis) as well as promotions by the operators running them. Those numbers likely will grow when live dealers are allowed at the racinos beginning in January.

Bell also pointed out that gambling revenue likely will grow now that sports wagering became legal in Indiana on Sept. 1.

Overall, Indiana brought in more than $1.1 billion in revenue August, with incomes, sales and corporate taxes all showing increases. That was 4.9 percent more than anticipated and 5.1 percent more than the state took in a year ago.

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One thought on “Indiana casino revenues continue to tumble

  1. There is no doubt that many people consider the cost of gambling as an “entertainment” expense. Even though they may lose $x amount of money during a visit, they still enjoy their time in the casino, the race track, or wherever. I have no problem with that. The cost to society is much harder to figure.
    However, it would be interesting if they could survey visitors, asking a simple question: How much did you have when you arrived, and how much did you have when you left? Sure, there are always the big winners (as in the lottery) but, overall, they are few and far between. Where do you think the winnings come from? If people did the math, they would never set foot inside one of these places, nor would they ever buy a lottery ticket. When you consider the costs involved with running one of these places (or running the lottery) the payouts they make, and weigh it against the profits and taxes paid, there is really very little left for the winners, who represent a very small percentage of the players. An extremely high cost for the entertainment value. (Full disclosure- In the past, I was a regular horse player, used to play the slots, and still play the lottery, but probably on the lower end of $5-10 per week.)

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