CASINOS: Mature industry looks for a competitive edge

Times Board of Economists - Update from Daniel Nita, Horseshoe Casino Sr. Vice President and General Manager
2013-07-21T00:00:00Z 2013-12-18T16:23:20Z CASINOS: Mature industry looks for a competitive edgeBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

The gaming industry in Indiana continues to be affected by trends both national and regional, with casino operators keeping a wary eye on new competition from neighboring states.

That competition comes not only in the form of new casinos in neighboring states, but also the introduction of video gaming machines to drinking establishments across Illinois.

"We are trying to evaluate the effect of those thousands of machines that are hitting bars and taverns in Illinois," Nita said.

A stubbornly high national unemployment rate continues to impact casinos across the nation, with "sluggishness" probably the best word to describe mature gaming jurisdictions from Vegas to Indiana, Nita said.

Indiana casinos received a small boost in the last session of the Indiana General Assembly, when lawmakers voted to exempt up to $5 million per year in free slot play at each casino from taxes.

The savings realized from that one move will help Indiana casinos to offer promotions more on a par with gaming jurisdictions where the tax burden is lower, Nita said.

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