October report

Indiana: Horseshoe loses top spot to new Hard Rock casino for first time; state sets record sports betting handle

Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary.
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Hard Rock Northern Indiana in Gary has topped October casino revenue in the state at $32.3 million, with Horseshoe Hammond taking second place at $31.5 million in casino win, according to official data released Friday by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC), which also reported sports betting volumes nearly doubled in a year-over-year comparison.

The figures are significant since for the first time in more than a decade Horseshoe ranked anywhere other than first place in the Northwest Indiana market. Horseshoe has lost its top sport after only just five months of competition with Hard Rock.

When combined, Northwest Indiana’s four casinos racked up $97.3 million in revenues in October, about 47% more than last year. In 2020, Ameristar in East Chicago, Blue Chip in Michigan City, Hard Rock Northern Indiana in Gary and Horseshoe Hammond posted $66.4 million.

"We couldn't be happier with our results thus far. Being the top revenue producer in the state in such a short time is truly a testament to our team, our property and the Hard Rock brand," said Matt Schuffert, president of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana

In terms of table game wagers, Hard Rock attracted $44.2 million, while Horseshoe posted $32.9 million. Baccarat was the top game at both venues, with Hard Rock posting $24.1 million in baccarat play versus $12.6 million at Horseshoe Hammond. 

Horseshoe saw better results in slot machine play when compared to Hard Rock: $243.8 million versus $234.5 million; and $24.8 million win versus $22.8 million. This is attributable to Horseshoe having 34% more machines than Hard Rock. However, on a per-machine basis, Hard Rock placed above Horseshoe. Schuffert said Hard Rock will add more slots “throughout the end of 2021”, with “over 150 more games” on the way.

Discussing the monthly results, Shannon McKellar, vice president of marketing for Horseshoe described October as another month of strong volumes for both tables and slots. She further remarked the casino still retains the top spot in slot win, and that the venue saw strong visitation in the month, partly driven by five sold-out or nearly sold-out concerts.

Hard Rock also expects to leverage entertainment and live shows as major revenue drivers. According to Schuffert, the casino could retain its leadership by offering a superior entertainment experience, including more frequent performances at the Hard Rock Live venue, which opened this month with a sellout show.

Completing the Northwest Indiana market, Ameristar placed third at $20.7 million in revenue, up 10.6% from the $18.8 million posted in 2020. Meanwhile, Blue Chip took in $12.6 million in revenue, up 23.8% from last October’s $10.2 million.

In terms of sports betting, Indiana posted a record $461 million in handle during last month, thus becoming the fifth state with a $450+ million month. Moreover, it has accumulated more than $5 billion in lifetime wagers. Sportsbooks in Indiana have now shattered the state record for betting volume for the second consecutive month.

The surge in betting partly responds to the year’s first full month of football. The opening of the NBA season and baseball’s postseason also gave sportsbooks an improved handle, which highly surpassed the previous record of $355.4 million. 

October’s handle was significantly up 99.7% from $230.9 million in October 2020. Daily bets increased to $14.9 million over the 31 days of the month, up from $11.8 million per day in September, according to Play Indiana.

Despite the surge, gross revenue fell 16.4% to $27.8 million from the record of $33.3 million set in September. Online betting accounted for most of the betting handle, at $411.9 million, 89.3% of the total. DraftKings led online operations with a $150.7 million handle.

In terms of retail sportsbooks, the total handle equaled $49.2 million, up from $35.3 million in September, with Hollywood Lawrenceburg leading at $15.6 million in wagers. Indiana could see 15 licensees by the end of the year, as Bally Bet, Fubo and SBK sportsbooks plan to enter the market.