Hard Rock continues to be Indiana's top earning casino

The Times Of Northwest Indiana
Hard Rock continues to be Indiana's top earning casino
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They're singing "Happy Birthday" this week at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana. But it might be hard to hear the tune over guests' seemingly unquenchable appetite for wagering at the Gary entertainment destination.

Data released Thursday by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) show Hard Rock in April was the highest earning casino in the Hoosier State for a seventh consecutive month — once again surpassing the former earnings leader, Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, for "win," or revenue after paying successful bettors.

Hard Rock's win from slot machines and table games totaled $38.2 million for the month, a 1% decrease increase compared to its March win, but 16.5% more than Horseshoe's April win of $31.9 million, which also was down 7.3% versus March, according to the IGC.

Matt Schuffert, president of the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, which opened to the public May 14, 2021, as a replacement for Gary's former Majestic Star casinos, said: "It has been a remarkable first year, with continued growth expected."

"We continue to see strong performance in both slots and table games, and are very excited to have opened our Sportsbook on May 11. Baccarat continues to perform very well, with our nearly $29 million in drop being more than all of the baccarat drop of all Indiana casinos combined," he said.

Schuffert said Hard Rock is celebrating its 1-year birthday with both casino events and live entertainment, including Limp Bizkit performing in Hard Rock Live May 21, followed by a full summer concert lineup.

Data show baccarat indeed was the biggest table game at both the Gary and Hammond casinos in April. But Hard Rock ($29 million) nearly tripled Horseshoe ($11.5 million) in baccarat play, and led in baccarat win with $7.5 million for Hard Rock and $1.6 million for Horseshoe.

Hard Rock also led the state in slot machine play for the fourth time since opening. Its $260.5 million in slot machine coin-in topped Horseshoe, which posted $243.6 million in slot play last month.

On a per machine basis, Hard Rock outpaced Horseshoe by tallying $15,829 in monthly win from each slot machine compared to $13,482 each at Horseshoe, records show.

According to the IGC, Ameristar Casino in East Chicago saw slot machine and table game win of $18.9 million in April, down 5.5% compared to March, while April's win of $12.5 million at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City also was down 2.2% on a monthly basis.

Statewide casino win for April totaled $229.1 million, a 2.6% decrease compared to the $235.2 million in statewide win recorded in March, but up 8.3% compared to April 2021, according to the IGC.

At the same time, enthusiasm for betting on sports waned a bit in April with Hoosiers risking $360 million on sporting events, data show.

While that's 18% less than the the state's record sports wagering handle of $500.1 million set in January, it's a 52.3% boost compared to the $236.4 million bet on sports in April 2021.

"Indiana is among the most mature markets in the U.S., but sports books continue to post impressive year-over-year gains, month after month. Even with some economic headwinds, this annual growth should continue through the summer," said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for PlayIndiana.com.

Blue Chip pulled ahead of Ameristar Casino for sports wagering handle in April with $112.4 million, primarily through its FanDuel mobile sports wagering affiliate.

But Ameristar, the perennial sports wagering leader, remained a close second by taking in $101.6 million in sports bets last month thanks in part to its affiliation with DraftKings.

Records show Indiana in April collected $71.5 million in tax revenue from slot machine and table game play, and another $2.7 million from settled sports wagers.