Introduction to Indiana Slots Return-To-Player
A big concern for slots enthusiasts is if casinos are trying to “get back their lost gaming revenue” by reducing their return-to-player (RTP). But is that true, state-by-state? Let’s look closely at the Indiana Slots Return-To-Player for their riverboats and casinos.
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Indiana’s Slots Industry: An Overview
Indiana has sixteen commercial casinos including two proposed casinos, one American Indian tribal casino, and two casinos closed in 2021.
Indiana’s 1851 constitution banned lotteries, historically interpreted by courts to mean all gambling. In 1988, Indiana approved a constitutional amendment removing this ban. Within months, cities with economic difficulties had casino proposals including ten riverboat casinos.
In 2007, Indiana allowed horse tracks to have as many as 2,000 electronic gaming machines. Further, the state legislature approved land-based casinos in 2015 and allowed riverboat casinos to move into a land-based casino facility if located on their current property.
The state of Indiana has a federally recognized American Indian tribe. In 2015, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians successfully negotiated a tribal state compact subsequently approved by the U.S. Department of Interior.
By the compact’s terms, the tribal casino could only have Class II bingo-style gaming machines. In 2018, the tribe opened a casino in South Bend.
The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) regulates commercial gaming in Indiana which has its Gaming Control Division as a law enforcement arm with a primary role to investigate illegal gambling. Enforcement of illegal gambling at bars and taverns is by the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission.
Indiana’s sixteen commercial casinos, including two proposed casinos in Terra Haute and Gary as well as the two casinos that closed in March 2021, are:
- Ameristar Casino Hotel East Chicago, 11 miles northwest of Gary.
- Bally’s Evansville, 169 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
- Belterra Casino Resort in Florence, 116 miles southeast of Indianapolis on the Kentucky border.
- Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa in Michigan City, 26 miles northeast of Gary.
- Caesars Southern Indiana in Elizabeth, 123 miles south of Indianapolis across the river from Louisville, Kentucky.
- French Lick Resort, 100 miles south of Indianapolis.
- Hard Rock Northern Indiana in Gary.
- Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, 43 miles northeast of Indianapolis.
- Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg, 98 miles southeast of Indianapolis on the Ohio border.
- Horseshoe Hammond, 20 miles northwest of Gary.
- Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville, 27 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
- Majestic Star – closed March 2021
- Majestic Star II – closed March 2021
- Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort – proposed casino expected in late 2023.
- Rising Star Casino Resort, 105 miles southeast of Indianapolis on the Kentucky border.
- Rocksino at Terre Haute by Churchill Downs – proposed casino.
Indiana’s tribal casino is Four Winds Casino South Bend, 150 miles north of Indianapolis directly east of Chicago on the border to Michigan. It offers 1,800 Class II competition-style gaming machines alongside live poker tables.
Unique to Indiana, the table game of poker is a skill-based game and, therefore, just another Class II game as players bet against each other and aren’t betting “against the house” or casino.
Indiana’s Return Statistics for Slots
The IGC offers comprehensive Annual Reports on all aspects of legal gaming in Indiana. Beginning in 2020, this annual report no longer offers annual win% by slot machine denomination.
Monthly win% is from p. 6 of the pdf, or worksheet Sheet6 of the MS Excel spreadsheet, from Monthly Revenue Reports.
Indiana has no theoretical payout limits. However monthly and annual return statistics are publicly available for commercial casinos. Neither theoretical payout nor return statistics are available for Indiana’s tribal casino.
Monthly Player Win Percentages
The return statistics for Indiana’s commercial casinos available in the IGC’s archives go back to calendar year 1996.
But I’ve plotted below the monthly player win percentages at Indiana casinos from the beginning of 2019 to the latest available.
The gap in data is from when Indiana’s casinos closed for two full months as a public health response to the pandemic.
All Indiana casinos have player win percentage from about 89% to just over 92%, or a range of around 3%. Within that range, most casinos are usually quite consistent regarding their monthly player win percentage for the last two years and more.
As a clear indication of how well casinos target their player win percentages, we can see how each casino has chosen and closely maintain their monthly return-to-player. In the video below, I’ve highlighted the colored line for each casino, necessary given Indiana’s fourteen casinos. Further, I’ve limited the date range to 2021 and after.
The return data shows that Horseshoe Indianapolis has the lowest overall return while Blue Chip and French Lick often have the highest overall return.
Summary of Indiana Slots Return-To-Player
Indiana casinos carefully manage their player win percentage. Over the long term, casinos set their returns above the legal limit to manage their financial performance metrics. Because these returns are reported to the state, savvy slots enthusiasts can choose casinos with better return-to-player than their competitors.
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Hollywood Lawrenceburg Casino Trip Review
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