Indiana: IGaming Legalization Not A Threat To Brick-And-Mortar Casino Industry, Report Says

Indiana: IGaming Legalization Not A Threat To Brick-And-Mortar Casino Industry, Report Says

Legal online gaming in Indiana wouldn’t be a threat to the Hoosier State’s casino industry, a new study commissioned by the Indiana Gaming Commission and conducted by Spectrum Gaming Group found. According to the report, iGaming legalization wouldn’t significantly cut into earnings or employment at the state’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos.

Furthermore, Spectrum forecasts that Indiana would see $469 million in iGaming revenue after paying successful bettors in its first year of operations, with online gaming win growing to $663 million in year two, and to $830 million in year three. Depending on the state tax rate applied to the vertical, iGaming could add $100 million or more each year to the state’s bottom line.

The study consists of a 103-page report in which Pennsylvania-based Spectrum analyzed how the launch and ongoing development of online gaming in the seven states where it is currently legal affected existing gaming operations in those jurisdictions. The study concluded that iGaming tended to attract male and female players about equally, particularly in the 21-39 group, which contrasts with the overwhelming male majority in sports betting.

“The traditional casino industry has long searched for an effective means of attracting a younger demographic. The retail industry’s core players — particularly slot players — continue to age, and are not being replaced by younger players. As iGaming offers a broader demographic reach, it would help address that demographic challenge,” the study notes.

The report goes on to say that an iGaming expansion would not only not be a threat to the land-based industry, but that Indiana’s brick-and-mortar casinos could potentially benefit from it in the event the licenses to operate the vertical are linked to the existing properties. This would be in line with how online sports wagering operators in the state must affiliate with a local gaming property to conduct business, notes NWI Times.

Such an arrangement would recognize the investment in facilities and employees made over decades by Indiana’s traditional casino, while also opening the door to increase on-site casino visits from initially online players, Spectrum’s report argues. On the other hand, permitting unaffiliated iGaming operators may enable them to market against in-person casino visits, as was the case in New Jersey, where they emphasized the convenience of playing at home.

All in all, Spectrum’s report concludes that online gaming would grow the state’s total gaming market without needlessly cannibalizing existing operators. “When retail casino operators offer iGaming, they can be expected to leverage the digital offering to enhance and grow their land-based revenue by marketing their amenities and their loyalty program to a broader demographic,” the firm noted in its study.

While a number of hurdles would need to be cleared in order to launch iGaming, among them the implementation of measures to prevent money laundering and problem gambling, Spectrum believes that given Indiana already has a mature casino industry and online sports betting in place, the state is “well positioned to integrate iGaming with its existing responsible gaming measures.” However, additional funding would need to be dedicated to treatment services.

While various proposals to legalize online gaming have been filed at the General Assembly in the last few years, none have received serious committee consideration, and even less so action by either the full House or Senate, noted the cited source. However, Spectrum’s new study could give lawmakers a new perspective on iGaming for January.