Indiana Casino Revenue Could Foreshadow Disappointing Nationwide Trend

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Indiana Casino Revenue Could Foreshadow Disappointing Nationwide Trend

Indiana casino revenue declined for a second consecutive month in May. The downward trend comes after the state gaming industry in March reported its highest monthly win in a decade.

Indiana casino revenue GGR gaming
Indiana casino revenue GGR gaming
The Hard Rock Casino in Gary, In., is desolate of gamblers. Indiana casinos reported lower gaming revenue in May 2022 for the second consecutive month. (Image: The Times of Northwest Indiana)

Indiana’s 10 casinos and two racinos combined to win $211.9 million last month. That is 7.5% lower than April’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $229.1 million.

May also represents a 10% decline compared with March when the gaming establishments won $235.2 million. March ’22 was the Indiana gaming industry’s best monthly performance since March 2012 when the casinos won $242.8 million.

Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary maintained its market dominance in the Hoosier State with $36.3 million won in May. Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino Hammond was a distant second at $28.9 million.

Indiana Numbers Could Foretell National Trend

The two-month GGR decline in Indiana could be a telling sign for gaming markets across the nation, as Americans begin to tighten their wallets and once expendable dollars as inflation and gas prices continue to skyrocket.

Nevada casinos have won at least $1 billion in each of the previous 14 months. Casinos in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland have all reported record monthly gaming activity since rising from the bleakest days of the pandemic.

Commercial casinos across the country won a record $53 billion in 2021. The number easily bested the national gaming industry’s previous all-time mark of $43.6 billion set just in 2019.

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company says the record gaming action over the past 12 months or so wasn’t entirely unexpected. The firm points to the fact that US consumers had approximately $2.8 trillion more in savings in 2021 than they did in 2019. And many Americans sought leisure and entertainment once pandemic restrictions loosened.

But the fun could be nearing its end. Consumer behaviors in response to a bear market, paired with high inflation and gas prices, has some gaming executives and market analysts concerned for the months ahead.

While the current environment shows gaming’s resilience, it’s probably naïve to think growth trends may not slow or contract in a recessionary environment with sustainable inflation,” Truist Securities gaming analyst Barry Jonas said in a recent note. “This is especially true to the extent we enter unchartered territories on energy costs and other stress points to the consumer.”

Jim Allen, chair of Hard Rock International, agrees that casinos should brace for difficult times.

“There’s no doubt that in most regional gaming markets the customer is a day-tripper, utilizing gasoline to get to the facility. That’s going to be problematic,” Allen told CNBC during a May interview.

Sports Betting Maintains Momentum

Indiana casinos and racinos saw their slot and table game wins drop in May, but their sports betting operations continued to generate additional revenue for the properties. Legal sports gambling in the Hoosier State began in September of 2019.

Though sportsbooks said they took fewer bets last month in terms of overall money wagered, oddsmakers fared nicely on a strong hold of more than 9%. Indiana sportsbooks won $30.7 million on the $308.4 million wagered.

While the $308.4 million handle amount was down nearly $52 million from April when state oddsmakers took $360 million in bets, May’s net win was $2 million better month-over-month.

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