By Zach Osowski The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Despite statewide casino problems, local casinos Hoosier Park in Anderson and Indiana Grand in Shelbyville continue to make slow gains while other casinos struggle.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino improved by more than $2 million in total win from February to March. The casino’s total adjusted gross revenue was higher this March than it was in March 2013, one of only two Indiana casinos that can say that.
Hoosier Park spokesman Grant Scharton said the Anderson racino is more interested in the total win numbers that, although down from this time last year, have been climbing.
Jahnae Erpenbach, vice president and general manager of gaming for Hoosier Park, said the casino is encouraged by what it has seen.
“We’re seeing month-to-month increases,” Erpenbach said. “We are currently trending up while many other properties in the state are not.”
Although March’s numbers are promising, Erpenbach said March tends to be a good month for casinos anyway. After the winter months when people stay inside, March is when it finally gets warm enough for people to venture out to Hoosier Park. The beginning of racing season at the end of March also helps get people through the doors.
But all casinos are down from where they were at this time last year in terms of total win numbers. The main reason for the problems the 13 gaming venues in Indiana are facing is the expansion of gaming in Ohio. In 2012 and 2013, Ohio opened up four casinos in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo. Gambling had previously not been allowed in Ohio, which had led to many Ohio residents coming across the border to gamble.
The casino in Cincinnati, which opened in 2013, has been especially troublesome for Hoosier gaming. The three hardest hit casinos are in southern Indiana along the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Rising Sun and Switzerland County. Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, the closest to Cincinnati, saw a $10 million drop in adjusted gross revenue from March 2013 to now.
Although some casinos have been affected more than others, Erpenbach said the expansion of gaming in Ohio has hurt everyone.
“What happened was the casinos that lost customers really started doing a lot more marketing,” she said. “Which made things tougher on casinos like us even though we don’t have a lot of Ohio customers.”
Having a sister racino close by in Shelbyville also helps. Erpenbach said they try to work together on a lot of different promotions and giveaways that bring in more customers for both of them. She said having a united front in tougher times is very helpful.
The Sweet 16 giveaway, where each park is giving away 16 cars in April, is one example of the two casinos working together on promotions.
Centaur Gaming, which owns Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand, also owns Winner’s Circle in downtown Indianapolis.
For now, Erpenbach and the rest of the staff are optimistic about Hoosier Park’s future going forward.
“We remain hopeful that we are doing the right things,” she said. “Especially in these uncertain times.”
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.
By the numbers Hoosier parks total win and adjusted gross revenue from March 2014 compared with February 2014 and March 2013. March 2014 February 2014 March 2013 Total Win $19,707,753 $17,200,863 $21,021,815 AGR $19,712,019 $17,211,095 $17,873,178 Source: Indiana Gaming Commission