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New Hard Rock Casino is top Indiana destination for table games players
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New Hard Rock Casino is top Indiana destination for table games players

Hard Rock Casino President Matt Schuffert gves guided tour

Strong baccarat play at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in July propelled the Gary gaming destination ahead of the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond to rank first in the state for table game wagers and "win," or revenue after paying winning bettors.

People who enjoy playing table games at casinos, particularly baccarat, are flocking to the new Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary.

Data released Thursday by the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) show more money was wagered in July on table games at Hard Rock than any other casino in the state, even the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.

Altogether, $45.1 million was bet last month at Hard Rock tables, including $24.6 million on baccarat — a relatively simple game with a low house edge that basically has players guess which of two hands of two or three cards will add up closest to nine.

After paying successful bettors, Hard Rock recorded a July table games “win” of $9.3 million versus $8.2 million at the Horseshoe, according to the IGC.

Matt Schuffert, president of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, said he’s happy the Region’s newest gaming and entertainment destination led all Indiana casinos in table game drop and win in just its second full month of operations.

“Baccarat definitely led the way, but we had strong growth in most other game types as well,” Schuffert said. “Guest feedback has been extremely positive, and I couldn’t be prouder of the job that our team is doing.”

Data show the Horseshoe retained its top statewide spot in July with $36.2 million in total win, including both table games and slot machines. Total win last month at Hard Rock was $32.1 million.

The Horseshoe lead largely was due to it having 30% more slot machines in operation than Hard Rock, allowing the Horseshoe to generate $28 million in slot win from $276.6 million in slot play, compared to slot win of $22.8 million on $226.7 million of slot play at Hard Rock.

Schuffert said Hard Rock certainly is not ceding slot dominance to the Horseshoe.

“We continue to make positive refinements to our slot floor, based on customer feedback, so continue to expect many positive slot floor additions over the next several weeks,” he said.

According to IGC records, the July win at Hard Rock is more than three times greater than July 2020 win at the former Majestic Star Casinos in Gary that permanently closed shortly before Hard Rock opened May 14 adjacent to the Borman Expressway at Burr Street.

But the additional wagers and win at Hard Rock don’t appear to be coming at the expense of any other Northwest Indiana casino.

Data show Horseshoe win was up 5% in July compared to June. Month-to-month win also increased 5.1% at the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago and 21.2% at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City.

Statewide casino win totaled $229.8 million in July, a 12.1% increase compared to the IGC-corrected statewide win of $204.9 million in June.

On the other hand, the amount of money wagered in Indiana on sports dropped 21% between June and July, according to the IGC.

Last month’s statewide handle of $194.5 million was the lowest of the year, and the first time Indiana sports wagers were less than $200 million since August 2020, when most sports leagues were just resuming play amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill Ordine, a sports betting analyst with the Gambling.com Group, attributed the drop to baseball being the only major sport available to bettors in July.

“The Hoosier State, along with the rest of the country, will undoubtedly see an uptick in the coming months as we approach the busiest season for sports betting with the return of football and basketball on both the professional and collegiate levels,” Ordine said.

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