Casino gaming floors aren't full when it's 20 degrees below zero, and January revenue at Northwest Indiana's casinos made that perfectly clear.
A collective gaming win of $65.9 million was the worst monthly total since another weather-wracked January, in 2014, when Region casinos took in $65.5 million. Last month's total was 10.7 percent below January 2018's total of $73.8 million.
"We felt pretty good about the way January opened up," Horseshoe Casino Senior Vice President and General Manager Dan Nita said. But a couple snowy weeks and the second coldest temperature on record put a stop to that.
Revenue at table games and slot machines was down across the board in January, according to data published Friday by the Indiana Gaming Commission. The amount of money played at both tables games and slot machines was down around 8 percent.
Majestic Star in Gary emerged with the lowest decline, of 2.6 percent to $10.8 million. Michigan City's Blue Chip also came close to its win a year ago, down 3.3 percent to $10.3 million.
Both Ameristar in East Chicago and Horseshoe in Hammond absorbed double-digit declines, the former down 12.5 percent to $16.2 million and the latter down 14.8 percent to $28.6 million.
The state as a whole fared better, but was still down 5.8 percent from January 2018. Indiana's casinos and race tracks had a win of $158.9 million last month. Nita said Chicago-area casinos on the Illinois side of the border were down 10.6 percent in January.
Nita also commented on legislation under consideration in the General Assembly that would make a variety of changes to the state's gaming environment, including by moving the two Gary licenses out of Buffington Harbor, with one relocating inland in Gary, and the other being moved to Terre Haute. He said Horseshoe's efforts are focused on maintaining stability in what he called a "saturated market."
"The key thing we continue to look for is market stability," Nita said.