INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's
casino tax revenues have fallen faster than expected over the past six
months, plunging nearly 15 percent amid more out-of-state competition and
lagging admissions as consumers try to shake off the aftereffects of the
Indiana saw a $50 million drop in casino tax revenues since June when
compared with a year earlier. That's about $5 million more than state
officials had forecast.
Casino Association of Indiana President Mike Smith and Indiana Gaming
Insight editor Ed Feigenbaum agreed Monday that the recession's lingering
pressures on consumers play a role not just in Indiana but nationwide.
The money the state collects from casino taxes has dropped from a peak of
nearly $876 million in 2009 to about 752 million in fiscal 2013, according
to figures from the Indiana Gaming Commission. Indiana's three casinos
near Cincinnati have seen big declines since a downtown casino opened in
the Ohio city last March.
In recent years, Indiana's casino industry has pleaded with state
legislators for economic protection from increasing out-of-state
competition. But some Indiana lawmakers last year said they were ready to
let the casinos try to survive on their own.
This year, the only bills submitted related to gambling involve charity
games, not casinos.
An annual report by the Indiana Gaming Commission's executive director,
Ernest Yelton, put the biggest share of the blame for lower tax revenue on
out-of-state casinos, but acknowledged that "a confluence of a lackluster
economy, competition and legislative relief" were all involved in the
"We've seen revenue drop in every calendar year since the recession in
2009," said Ed Feigenbaum, editor of Indiana Gaming Insight, which tracks
gambling in the state.
While competition has had a "tremendous effect," Feigenbaum said, "It's
more complicated than that."
Fewer people have been going to casinos in recent years simply because
they can't afford it, he said.
"People don't have as much disposable income, they don't have as much
money they can spend," Feigenbaum said. "They used to choose between going
to a high school basketball game or the casino. Now, it's between going to
the casino or paying their mortgage."
Mike Smith, president of the Casino Association of Indiana, agreed.
"I think ever since we had the major recession, it's just taking a lot
longer for us to get back to where we were," he said Monday.
Nor is Indiana alone, both men said.
"Every other market in the country has seen the same thing happen,"
Feigenbaum said, including Las Vegas, the magnet of American gambling.
Casino revenue at the nation's second-most popular site, Atlantic City,
fell below $3 billion last year for the first time in 22 years. It marked
the seventh straight year of plunging gambling revenue.