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POST CV19 OUTLOOK by Phil Sicuso and Ali Bartlett “In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the unexpected closure of nearly every type of business in the country (and even the world), a months long shutdown had the potential to cause irreparable harm to an industry that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In Indiana (a state that hosts 13 commercial casinos, a state lottery, a tribal casino, and two off-track betting parlours, as well as legalised retail and mobile sports betting), casinos and gaming are a foundational piece of the state’s revenue and among the largest employers in many communities.


Casinos were ordered to cease operations on March 16 2020. Although operators made every effort to support their employees and communities throughout the 91-day mandated shutdown period, revenue decreases were inevitable and significant. Te taxable Adjusted Gross Receipts (“AGR”) for casino gaming in the month of March was $88m, compared to $187m for February; and sports wagering AGR was $5.5m in March (on $74m in handle), as compared to AGR of $11m for February (on $187m in handle). Of course, casino AGR for April and May was $0, while sports wagering AGR shrank to a paltry $1.5m in April ($26m in handle), but rising to $3.1m in May ($37m in handle) and $2.9m in June (on $29.8m in handle) in conjunction with the gradual increase in live sporting events around the world. Since being permitted to re-open on June 15 (with substantial safety measures and limitations in place), casino revenues have hit an


uptick, with AGR jumping to $98m for the month of June – although still a major reduction from the norm as compared to June of 2019, which saw a taxable AGR of $180m.


Given the substantial economic role the gaming industry plays in Indiana, the question now becomes, “what does the future hold?” With online and mobile sports betting being the state’s sole contributor to casino-related gaming revenues for April and May, the state’s current and future licensed operators are keenly aware that their creative efforts to keep customers engaged and entertained will prove that the online and mobile market may be the most resilient of all.


Although all are hoping for the best, future shutdowns remain possible. Te pandemic will almost certainly expedite the consideration of legalisation of sports wagering and igaming (including online slots, table games, and sometimes poker) in many states. Indiana State Senator Jon Ford (R- Terre Haute), a champion for responsible gaming as a revenue-generating asset for the state and co-author of the state’s most recent gaming laws, is already exploring the option for possible igaming approval during the 2021 legislative session.


While Covid-19 has surely had many negative impacts on the gaming industry in Indiana, it may also have jump-started a conversation about how best to continue to innovate along with the growing industry.”


Gambling GGR data 2019 Casinos: EGTs:


Table games: Lotteries:


Sports betting:


$2.21bn (spend) $1.87bn $341.6m


$1.3bn (sales) $78.5m


(GGR Sept 2019-June 2020)


With online and mobile sports betting being the state’s sole contributor to casino-related gaming revenues for April and May, the state’s current and future licensed operators are keenly aware that their creative efforts to keep customers engaged and entertained will prove that the online and mobile market may be the most resilient of all.


NEWSWIRE / INTERACTIVE / MARKET DATA P59


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