Every slot machine and every table game inside every Indiana casino is designed and operated so the casino always wins in the long run.

Gamblers may hit a lucky hand at the tables from time to time or be handed a big pile of cash when the slot machine bonus game lands on a jackpot. But no matter how much a casino pays out to its players on any given day it will, over time, come out ahead.

Depending on which casino a player visits, however, the player may have a slightly better chance of leaving with more of their money when they're ready to go home.

Data contained in the Indiana Gaming Commission's (IGC) 2022 annual report — which covers the July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 period — show exactly how much money players got back in each of the state's 12 commercial casinos for every type of game available.

According to the report, Hoosiers wagered $20.9 billion at the state's 14,661 slot machines in 2022, compared to the $2.2 billion they dropped to play at the 658 casino table games.

The statewide slot "win" last year, or the casinos' earnings after paying out successful bettors, totaled $2.05 billion, IGC data show.

Or, put another way, of the nearly $21 billion dollars deposited into Indiana slot machines during the 2022 budget year, 90.2% of the money was returned to players and 9.8% was kept by the casinos.

Naturally, the return to player percentage varies by casino based on how "tight" or "loose" the managers of each property believe their slot machines need to be to encourage additional play and return visits.

According to the IGC, the 2022 slot return to player percentages at Northwest Indiana casinos were, from highest to lowest: 91.1%, Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City; 90.7%, Ameristar Casino, East Chicago; 90.2% Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana, Gary; 89.9% Horseshoe Casino, Hammond.

Across the state, the French Lick Casino had the highest slot return to player at 91.2%, just a tick better than Blue Chip.

At the other end of the spectrum, players at Horseshoe Indianapolis, which has the same parent company — Caesars Entertainment — as Horseshoe Hammond, got back just 89.5% of the money they put into slot machines last year, according to the IGC.

Those payback percentages, while ensuring Indiana casinos always make money from their slot machines, still are significantly better than the Hoosier Lottery, which returned as prize winnings just 66.8% of the $1.7 billion Hoosiers spent on lottery tickets last year, data show.

When it comes to table games, Northwest Indiana casinos have an outsized effect on the state's results because they account for 60% of annual table game play but only comprise one-third of Indiana's casino properties.

Overall, the 2022 return to player for Indiana table games was 77.8%. Though the different games varied quite a bit in their payback, according to the IGC.

Baccarat last year edged blackjack as the most popular table game for the first time in state history, thanks in large part to unprecedented levels of baccarat play in the specialized baccarat gaming area at the Hard Rock Casino that opened its doors May 14, 2021, as a replacement for Gary's former Majestic Star casinos on Lake Michigan.

Not surprisingly, baccarat also offered the highest return to player of any table game in Indiana with 81.4% of the money put down at baccarat tables going to back to baccarat players.

In Northwest Indiana, more skillful baccarat players seemed to favor Ameristar Casino, where last year the baccarat return to player was 86.8%. It was 82.8% at Horseshoe Casino and 79.7% at Hard Rock, according to the IGC.

Hoosier blackjack players across the state got back 78.8% of the money they wagered. At Region casinos, blackjack return to player last year was 83.6% at Blue Chip, 82.8% at Ameristar, 79.3% at Hard Rock, and 76.7% at Horseshoe.

The statewide return to player for other casino table games was 76% for craps; 74.9% for roulette; and 73.3% for various house-banked poker games, such as Four Card Poker, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold-Em, among others.

Altogether, Hoosiers wagered $4.5 billion on sporting events last year, including $380 million in sports bets placed directly at casinos (9%), and $4.1 billion through online sports wagering operators (91%), according to the IGC.

The sports wagering return to player, 92.6%, was higher than other forms of gambling because sports books generally try to set their odds to ensure nearly equal action on both sides of each bet offered, so the money from the losers goes to pay the winners with a fraction retained by the sports book.
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