September marked the seventh straight month of year-over-year revenue declines for Indiana casinos, falling just shy of $182 million.
Casino gaming revenue dropped by 5.4% YoY from $192.3 million and was $65K lower than August’s total, the previous low point in 2023. As a result, Indiana casinos have now posted a yearly nadir in four of the last five months.
Three casinos hold 45% IN market share
Two of Indiana’s top three casinos outperformed their August revenue totals in September, but all three fell from September 2022. Nonetheless, they accounted for 45% of revenue for the month. Indiana online casinos remain illegal.
Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana again took the top spot with $32.6 million in revenue, up 6.9% month-over-month. However, its revenue declined by 7.2% YoY.
No other casino challenged $30 million in revenue, with Horseshoe Indianapolis coming the closest at $26.4 million. This number was down both MoM (-2.1%) and YoY (-0.5%) but was still enough to hold off Horseshoe Hammond’s $23.6 million, up 1.9% MoM but down 10.2% YoY.
Below these three, another six casinos generated at least $10 million in September revenue. All but Blue Chip Casino saw their business decline.
- Harrah’s Hoosier Park: $17.6 million (-$7K MoM; -4.5% YoY)
- Caesars Southern Indiana: $16.9 million (-4.4% MoM; -12.1% YoY)
- Ameristar Casino: $12.9 million (-6.4% MoM; -12.2% YoY)
- Bally’s Evansville: $12.7 million (-4.2% MoM; -4.3% YoY)
- Hollywood Lawrenceburg: $11.4 million (-4.5% MoM; -6% YoY)
- Blue Chip Casino: $10.1 million (+0.8% MoM; +1.9% YoY)
The final three casinos failed to reach eight-figure revenues, but two posted increases to their bottom lines.
- Belterra Casino: $7.3 million (+6.7% MoM; +8.7% YoY)
- French Lick Resort: $6.9 million (+3.8% MoM; +9% YoY)
- Rising Star Casino: $3.5 million (-2.1% MoM; -2.7% YoY)
Can casinos in Indiana reverse the trend?
Indiana casinos are on pace to record lower revenue totals than in 2022 ($2.39 billion) and 2021 ($2.35 billion). They’ve produced over $1.76 billion through three-quarters of the year, or a $195.3 million monthly average.
Even if numbers return to their average, yearly casino revenue will reach $2.34 billion and drop by 1.7% YoY. Given the last few months’ trajectory, that seems like the best-case scenario.
So, what can casinos in Indiana do to reverse this trend?
It’s possible that pent-up demand from 2020 shutdowns carried the casino industry to unsustainable highs in 2021 and 2022. This year is simply a regression to the mean.
Of course, casinos refuse to accept that answer. The new Terre Haute Casino will open early next year, and Harrah’s Hoosier Park is amidst a $40 million expansion that will add 30,000 square feet of gaming space full of offerings.
Lower points still to come
The year 2023 has been a down one for Indiana gambling, including retail casinos and online sports betting. While sports betting trended upward in September because of the start of the NFL season, Q4 has not brought the same boon to casinos over the last two years.
September has now brought nearly identical numbers to August every year since 2021. If that trend continues, October will increase slightly above the last two months before experiencing a significant drop in November.
December could make or break the year’s efforts. Casinos topped $203 million in 2021 but fell to $192.7 million last year, comparable to August and September 2022. Based on this year, we’ll be lucky to see either November or December break $185 million in revenue.
Lastly, the clock continues to tick toward Bally’s Chicago’s planned 2026 opening. Chicagoland residents have long patronized casinos across the border, but competition from the city will significantly impact Indiana’s northern licensees’ numbers.