CHICAGO — Indiana is bracing for the loss of up to $300 million of annual revenue as neighboring Ohio prepares to open four new high-profile casinos in major cities later this year.
Gambling revenue generates around $1 billion annually for Indiana.
About 25% of that money goes to the local host city, while the bulk goes to the state general fund. Most of that money is used to finance capital projects across the state.
Indiana reportedly earns the second highest amount of gaming revenue in the country.
But that revenue is expected to take a hit starting this year — as soon as next month — as Ohio allows casinos for the first time in its history.
The Buckeye State will open four major casinos in its four top cities, Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.
The Cleveland facility is set to open in May.
Ohioans made the new casinos part of the state constitution with a vote in November 2009.
The facilities are expected to generate up to $650 million annually. All of that money will be distributed to local governments based on population.
The state itself saw $200 million in up-front revenue from the sale of the casino licenses.
Indiana gambling advocates warn that the new competition will mean an annual loss of up to $300 million. State fiscal analysts have put the number closer to $100 million.
Recent revenue estimates have included the new Ohio gaming facilities as potentially major factors on state revenue in both the near and long-term.
Indiana budget analysts have projected a nearly 20% drop in revenue in fiscal 2013 for three casinos located in southeast Indiana, where nearby residents of Ohio will now be able to gamble closer to their homes.
Analysts have also continued to lower their estimates for the revenue from previous projections.
The most recent projections, from last December, project that gaming revenue will total $634 million in 2012, down 21% from 2011, and down 23% from previous estimates.
Riverboat and racino gaming revenue is projected to total $581 million in 2013, down just under 20% from 2012 and down 32% from previous projections made earlier in 2011.
The figures do not include the Hoosier Lottery, which typically brings in another $200 million, or horseracing and other smaller gambling sources.
In 2010, Indiana’s gaming facilities generated a total of $1.1 billion.
Of that, $206 million went to local governments and $882.5 million went to the general fund.
The bulk of the state’s gambling revenue comes from its 11 riverboat casinos and its two racinos.
Indiana was one of the first states to legalize gambling, which it did in 1989.
The state has seen its revenue shrink over the years as other nearby states have voted to open their own sites.
In addition to Ohio, Illinois legislators are considering a major gambling expansion, which could include a facility in downtown Chicago, minutes from a trio of riverboats in northwest Indiana, including the town of Gary, which relies heavily on its gaming revenue.
Michigan and Kentucky are also considering gambling expansions.
Much of the money generated by the Hoosier Lottery goes into the teachers’ and public safety pension funds.
Indiana casino lobbyists also this year fought heavily against an anti-smoking measure that they said would make the state’s casinos even less competitive.
State fiscal analysts said revenue could be reduced by as much as 20% by the ban.
The final law featured an exemption for the casinos.