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Indiana Casinos Affected by Global Financial Crisis

On January 10th, 2009, casino officials and an industry spokesperson blame the financial crisis and last summer's $4 a gallon gasoline costs for sending Indiana casino profits down last year. Statewide casino figures released last week by the Indiana Gaming Commission showed revenues at the eleven casinos of Indiana slide down by eight percent to about $2.5 billion last year, compared to the $2.7 billion total casino revenue in 2007, while admissions slide down by six percent.

It marked the first time ever that statewide casino revenues and attendance for the casino have slide down from the previous year. When the revenues from slot machines that were installed in June at Indiana's two horse racing tracks were added, casino revenues totaled $2.67 billion in 2008. Mike Smith, the president of the Casino Association of Indiana said that the state of the economy has really affected Indiana's casino facilities.

The Horseshoe Southern Indiana, which is formerly the Caesars Indiana, saw its gross casino revenue slide down by nine percent in 2008, while casino admissions dropped by twelve percent. The Harrison County boat attracted 367,000 fewer visits from customers in 2008. Horseshoe spokesperson Judy Hess said that she thinks that they are all just waiting for this crisis to pass and try to stay strong.

Analysts and gaming executives noted that the financial crisis has affected all forms of legalized gaming like horse racing and some state lotteries. The slot machines at the two horse racing tracks, the Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Downs in Shelbyville earned a total of $195 million through December. Neither horse racing track is required by the gaming commission to state admission figures.

Ed Feigenbaum, the publisher of a newsletter that keeps an eye on the Hoosier gaming industry, stated that the increase in gasoline prices cut back the people's willingness to drive a long distance, so the horse track "racinos" probably took in some cash that might have otherwise gone to the casino facilities.

A smoking ban in the state of Illinois also likely caused some players to go to Indiana. Hess said that potential players facing job layoffs will abstain from spending too much on discretionary spending like going out in movies, restaurants and casino facilities.


23 February 2009
News Submitted by:
Jack Silverman

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