Indiana Casino Revenue In September A Mixed Bag, Even With Sports Betting

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The state of Indiana kicked off legal sports betting last month, with retail books generating $8.55 mm in taxable AGR off $35.2 mm in bets, also known as the handle.

It was a much-needed shot in the arm for the state’s casino gaming market, as gross gaming win of $177.98 mm from table games and gambling machines last month was down compared to $182.34 mm won in September 2018. The Indiana gaming market was up, rather than down, thanks to sports betting.

Still, retail sports wagering in month no. 1 didn’t provide a boost to slots and electronic gaming tables.

State casinos had $156.01 mm in machine win in September 2018, versus $150.36 mm last month, off about 3.6% year-over-year. Granted, there were fewer machines this year, as September 2018 had 18,457 units, compared to just 17,784 in operation last month. Casinos, of course, try to strike a balance between their gaming and non-gaming amenities to maximize overall revenue.

Machine win fell at some properties, while increasing at others.

Table games

While the market for machine gambling was down, table game win inched up last month.

The casinos won $27.62 mm from tables last month, compared to $26.32 mm a year prior. Per state figures, table game drop of $130.8 mm last month was up 0.6% year-over-year, so the revenue increase wasn’t simply due to the casinos running better against gamblers.

Like the machines, there were fewer tables in operation. September 2018 had 666 tables, compared to 652 last month. The number of tables will soon increase, however.

Mature gaming market

Indiana’s casino gaming market has been flat/in decline this decade. It’s a very mature gaming market — and a major blow was dealt to the state with the beginning of Ohio casino gaming in 2012, especially with the opening of a casino in Cincinnati. The Indiana market hasn’t recovered to the pre-Ohio-gaming days.

In an effort to turn the ship around, Indiana lawmakers passed a gambling expansion package this spring that was described as “historic” and a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

In addition to sports betting, the massive gaming package allowed another Las Vegas-style casino and authorized live dealer table games at a pair of racinos. Additionally, a casino in Northwest Indiana was permitted to relocate to a more prominent urban location.

Indiana’s casino gaming market is worth about $2.25 billion annually right now, but with online/mobile sports betting and additional brick-and-mortar gambling options/venues, the state could once again see gaming win approach $3 billion rather than $2 billion.

Online/mobile sports betting also paves the way for Indiana lawmakers to consider online casino gaming down the line. New Jersey is showing the country what iCasino can do.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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