Lucky players, lower volumes reduce Region casino earnings in May

The Times Of Northwest Indiana
Lucky players, lower volumes reduce Region casino earnings in May

May was a tough month for Northwest Indiana's four commercial casinos.

Data released Monday by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) show each Region gaming destination last month failed to increase its "win," or revenue after paying successful bettors, compared to May 2022.

Even the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, which consistently has bested its year-over-year monthly win since opening to the public May 14, 2021, fell short — despite seeing more volume at its table games and slot machines.

"Amounts wagered on both slots and table games grew nearly 3%, but we were on the wrong side of several large table games bets that didn’t go our way. Several table games players left happier than normal in the month of May," said Matt Schuffert, Hard Rock president.

Hard Rock recorded $33.7 million in win last month, a 7.2% decrease compared to its May 2022 win of $36.3 million, according to the IGC.

Nevertheless, the Gary entertainment destination still accounted for more than 17% of the state's $196.5 million in total casino win for the fifth month of 2023 — Indiana's first sub-$200 million month since November 2022, records show.

Schuffert said he's confident Hard Rock will remain the top-earning casino in Indiana thanks to its stellar reputation, outstanding dining and entertainment options, and exciting casino environment.

"We were very happy to see the results of The Times Best of the Region where we were voted 'Best Casino' and 'Best Casino Dining,' further cementing our position as a top entertainment destination," he said. "It should be a hot summer at Hard Rock Northern Indiana!"

Hard Rock's state-leading slot machine play totaled $255.9 million in May, with a state-best win of $25.4 million, compared to May 2022 slot win of $24.8 million on $248.7 million in play.

The Gary casino also led the state for May table game play, primarily baccarat, with $53.1 million, and was tops in table win at $8.3 million.

To put that in perspective, once again more money was wagered at Hard Rock table games in May than the tables at Indiana's five Ohio River casinos and the French Lick Casino combined ($50.1 million), records show.

According to the IGC, the state's former earnings leader, Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, last month ranked third in the state behind its Horseshoe Indianapolis sister property with $24.5 million in win — down 15.2% from its May 2022 win of $28.9 million.

Monthly win at Ameristar Casino in East Chicago fell 14.8% to $14.9 million for May compared with $17.5 million for the same month in the prior year.

Last month's win at Blue Chip Casino, in Michigan City, totaled $10.1 million versus $12 million last May, a decrease of 16.2%, according to the IGC.

Records show slot and table game volume, in addition to win, decreased last month on a year-over-year basis at the Horseshoe, Ameristar and Blue Chip casinos.

For sports wagering, the statewide online and retail handle was $283.4 million last month, compared with $308.4 million in May 2022. The all-time monthly record is $500.1 million set in January 2022.

In total, Indiana in May collected $62.1 million in tax revenue from slot machine and table game play, and $3.2 million from settled sports wagers, according to the IGC.