Riverboat casino revenues continue to tumble

Kayla Walker/TheStatehouseFile.comMatt Bell, president of Casino Association of Indiana. 

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

Revenues from the state’s 10 casinos was down 31.2 percent from what had been expected in August, according to monthly revenue report released by the State Budget Agency. And that represents a 26.9 percent 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, the president and CEO of the Casino Association of Indiana, said that this loss 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 people also seem to be wary about the economy right now, to the point where people are saving their money instead of going to the casinos.

Meanwhile, the two racinos – the combination horse-racing tracks and casinos located in Shelbyville and Anderson — saw an increase in revenues. 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 through a combination of the geography of the racinos – as they are located in Central Indiana — as well as promotions by the operators running them. Those numbers likely will grow when live dealers are allowed by the state at the racinos beginning in January.

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

Overall, Indiana brought in more than $1.1 billion in 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.

Brandon Barger is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.

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