Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – As had been feared, southeast Indiana’s riverboat casino gaming revenues took a historic hit in March.
The closest competition yet for the regional gaming market, Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino, opened March 4. On Tuesday, the Indiana Gaming Commission released its March report detailing revenues and attendance at the state’s 13 casinos during the first month of competition in Cincinnati.
The report offers a look at what is likely a new reality for southeast Indiana gaming facilities in Lawrenceburg, Rising Sun, and Switzerland County.
The region’s largest casino, Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, witnessed a 25.4 percent decline in its revenue in March when compared to the same month in 2012, bringing in $28.8 million. Attendance at the Lawrenceburg location mirrored the money, down 25.0 percent to 235,334 visitors during the month.
Down the Ohio River, Rising Star Casino Resort saw a similar slide in both revenue and attendance. About $6.7 million in revenue was off 23 percent from last year. Attendance fell 20.9 percent to 88,800 people stepping aboard the boat.
Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, Indiana – the southeast Indiana casino furthest away from Cincinnati – saw a much smaller hit to its March totals. Revenue was down 6.0 percent to $12 million and the attendance impact was barely noticeable. Nearly 137,000 visitors were just 2.4 percent fewer than a year ago.
Statewide, Indiana’s casino revenues totaled $232.2 million – down 4.4 percent – and statewide attendance 1.96 million – off 10.8 percent.
The region’s riverboats and their home communities have been making investments to attract more gamblers. Hollywood Casino is partnering with Lawrenceburg on a $49 million event center in the midst of construction a couple blocks away. A new 104-room hotel is being built at Rising Star Casino with investment from Rising Sun-Ohio County First and the Rising Sun Regional Foundation.
Still, the city and county governments as well as the schools and non-profit organizations which receive a portion of casino revenues must also prepare for less money to go around. In December, Lawrenceburg Mayor Dennis Carr asked groups who ask for or depend on funding from Lawrenceburg to begin reviewing their own costs to meet the anticipated reductions.
“With this in mind, we, as a city, need to prepare ourselves to meet this challenge by looking at our costs and making reductions wherever possible, while maintaining the city’s services to our residents.” Carr warned.
The Ohio Gaming Control Commission released the March report for the buckeye state’s four casinos on Monday. Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati welcomed 441,000 visitors and raked in $21 million in revenue since its March 4 opening.