New Jersey is not the only state that is experiencing declining revenues at its casinos, as recent numbers released in Indiana reveal that Hoosier State casinos have now tallied decreasing revenue for 24 straight months.
The declines fall in the category of year-over-year statistics and show that Indiana’s 13 casinos took in just shy of $200 million in August, a dip of 4.7% when compared to August 2013. The results were provided by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), who reported that over the last two years, revenue is down a collective $110 million.
Why the flagging numbers? Much like the situation in Atlantic City, competition from nearby states has dented revenue totals. The culprits appear to be Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.
Three up, 10 down
Three Indiana casinos saw revenue go up in August, while all the others experienced a decrease. Both Tropicana Evansville and Hoosier Park Racing and Casino were the benefits of a 7.5% rise in revenue, while the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino’s boost was rather mild at 1.3%.
What can be done to get the revenue totals heading North in the Hoosier State? It seems that that ship may have already sailed, according to IGC executive director Ernest Yelton.
Most observers will say Indiana will never regain the total numbers of dollars it was used to getting,” Yelton said a few months ago. “I think the goal, more realistically, is to minimize the amount of dollars that is going to be lost.”
Adding live table games at racinos has been mentioned as one way to possibly see an uptick in revenue. The racinos currently offer only slots. Video lottery machines in Illinois and Ohio are being blamed for the revenue decline at the racinos.
How about Internet gambling?
While online poker and gambling regulation may also offset some of the losses, Indiana lawmakers do not appear headed in that direction. A recent report released by Morgan Stanley predicted 20 states that could enact Internet gambling by the year 2020. Indiana is nowhere to be found on that list.
Almost 13,000 are employed at Indiana gambling establishments. The threat of a casino closing or two certainly is a possibility, putting the livelihood of hundreds if not thousands of casino workers in jeopardy.
“Those are real jobs we can’t ignore,” Republican Rep. Tom Dermody (LaPorte) told the Indianapolis Business Journal.