With the Hoosier State still under Gov. Holcomb’s stay-at-home order, casino revenue will be taking a bit hit in April.
The original order went into place starting on March 16, and was going to run through March 30. Since then, the order has been extended several times.
April is the first full month of Indiana’s casinos not being able to open their doors.
With those brick and mortar facilities closed, online sports betting is the only way those casinos can generate revenue.
However, COVID-19 also hit the brakes on sports around the country.
With only a handful of options on the table, that sports betting lifeline is a short one for Indiana’s casinos. Casinos that don’t have online sportsbook partners are going without that lifeline altogether.
The Indiana Gaming Commission won’t be releasing April’s revenue numbers until May 11, but things aren’t looking great.
Indiana casino revenue for March could be just $1 million
April is normally a profitable month for Indiana’s casinos.
From 2015-2019, casinos in the Hoosier State had an average adjusted gross revenue of over $182 million during the month of April.
That number doesn’t even include sports betting since Indiana didn’t take sports wagers until fall 2019.
Revenues already took a big plunge in March. The state’s casinos brought in a little over $90 million in AGR last month.
However, casinos were still open for business for half of March. That’s an advantage that April won’t have.
With everything closed for the entire month, revenues for Indiana’s casinos will be drastically lower. All of that revenue will come from online sports betting since Indiana doesn’t have legal online casinos.
So the question is, how much revenue can sports betting generate in the middle of a pandemic? It turns out, probably not much.
In March, Indiana’s $74 million handle translated to almost $5.5 million in AGR for casinos. And that’s with sports going on without changes for half of the month.
With all of the major sports leagues shutting down for a while, there hasn’t been much to bet on in April. Most of the month’s revenue will likely come from NFL Draft betting and more obscure sports like table tennis.
That could easily drop sports betting revenue down to $1 million or less. That would mean Indiana’s casinos could make a combined $181 million less in April 2020 than they would have in the same month during an average year.
Less money coming into casinos also means less money coming into the state in taxes.
From 2015-2019, Indiana brought in an average of approximately $61 million in taxes from casinos during the month of April. That number will obviously take a huge hit as well in April 2020.
It could be a while before things return to normal
Indiana’s current stay-at-home order is active until May 1, but there’s a good chance that things will be extended again.
Michigan just extended its order through May 15. Illinois took things a step further and is hunkering down until at least May 30.
At one of his daily briefings, Gov. Holcomb recently expressed his desire to start opening the state back up sometime in May.
“I’m not being date-specific. We’re looking at the numbers. The next few days are very important to us. I’m not putting a May 1 date out there, or May 2 or May 7 or May 8, but we are thinking early May.”
However, when Indiana does start to reopen, things won’t be back to normal overnight. It’ll be a slow process, and there’s no guarantee that casinos will be allowed to reopen at first.
Casinos throughout the Hoosier State have already been forced to furlough thousands of employees. Until Holcomb gives the industry a firm date, those employees and casinos will be eagerly waiting to get back on their feet.