Locally Owned French Lick Casino Hit Hardest In Indiana During March

Indiana casinos, along with their retail sportsbooks, closed their doors the third week of March under a temporary shutdown order from the Hoosier State’s gaming commission. There’s no reopening on the radar right now as the ongoing national public health crisis persists.

Indiana’s online/mobile sportsbooks remain open, though there’s one problem — there’s not a whole lot on the menu. Still, there is some soccer, table tennis, and the upcoming NFL draft on which bettors can find action. A major UFC card was recently on the horizon, but it was scrapped last week.

Unfortunately, Hoosiers don’t have legal online casino platforms, like residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania enjoy. Indiana sports betting handle plummeted 60% in March compared to February. The sportsbooks reported $5.5 million in adjusted gross revenue off the $74.8 million in bets, down more than 50% compared to the $11.1 million in February revenue.

To no one’s surprise, brick-and-mortar casino revenue plunged in a year-over-year comparison, according to figures released last week by the Indiana Gaming Commission. Revenue from table games and slot machines fell 57.5% year-over-year from $213.42 million to $90.63 million.

Some casinos hit harder than others in March

Revenue at French Lick Resort, located adjacent to the Hoosier National Forest about 60 miles from Louisville, fell the most, dropping more than 64% year-over-year, according to the state figures. Horseshoe Hammond, located near Chicago, saw its winnings drop about 53%, a decline that was the least severe among the Las Vegas-style casinos.

Here’s a look at their respective declines from March 2019 revenue:

  • Ameristar: -59.76%
  • Belterra: -63.13%
  • Blue Chip: -58.73%
  • Caesars Southern Indiana: -58.56%
  • French Lick: -64.46%
  • Hollywood: -55.34%
  • Horseshoe Hammond: -53.35%
  • Majestic Star: -59.08%
  • Rising Star: -58.95%
  • Tropicana: -56.40%

French Lick is privately owned by the Bloomington-based Cook Group, making it a truly local casino. Other Indiana casinos are owned or operated by the likes of Penn National Gaming, Boyd Gaming, and Caesars Entertainment, which all have national footprints.

As in other casino markets, the length of the COVID-19 crisis could determine the financial future for some retail properties. Nothing has yet pointed to any of the state’s casinos being in jeopardy of not reopening.

Despite the business interruptions, Indiana is still expecting to see a new Hard Rock Casino in Gary, located in northwest Indiana. Ground was broken on the project earlier this year. There’s also a casino in the pipeline for Terre Haute, located near the Illinois border.