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Horseshoe's impact on Indiana casinos revealed

(FOX19) -

A day after learning Cincinnati's Horseshoe Casino pulled in $21 million in its first month of operation, its impact on Indiana casinos is also coming to light.

Statewide, Indiana's 13 gambling halls saw revenue fall 4.4%, with Rising Star Casino in Rising Sun, and Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, taking the hardest hits.

At Hollywood, attendance and revenue fell 25% compared to March 2012 according to Indiana Gaming Commission numbers released Tuesday, which is nearly a $10 million hit.

Rising Star also saw big declines. Revenue there fell 23%, equaling $6.80, with attendance down 20%.

Belterra in Vevay brought in $12 million in revenue last month, down 6% from last year.

For some people who frequent the Horseshoe Casino and Indiana facilities for their gambling needs, they say the signs are pointing to more people gravitating to downtown Cincinnati.

If you take a look around the parking lot at the Rising Star Casino, you might think it seems empty because it's Tuesday afternoon. But, the numbers suggest there may be more the story, thanks to the Horseshoe Casino.

"They got different variety. They got better machines, and it's just a better atmosphere," said Timothy Milliner of Newport, KY.

For some players, they still enjoy the gaming places in Indiana and what they offer, especially the view.

"We like to see the river and watch the corn grow once the fields were planted.," said Pat Emmett of Cincinnati.

For one woman, she says she's noticing a small change that might actually tell a much bigger story as to why it seems like people are taking their money from Indiana casinos, to spend right here at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati.

"I keep on looking at the license plates, and I did notice when I came in here, that there's not nearly as many Ohio plates as there were in the past," added Emmett.

In line with the latest numbers, one gamble says he doesn't expect to take his cash back to Indiana.

"This seems to be a little bit better facility, different audience and overall I think it's a better casino," added Milliner.

But even though it looks like the numbers are taking a hit at Indiana casinos, for one player, either one works for her.

"This is the first time I've come here since they opened the new casino, but I like the new casino in Cincinnati, too," said Emmett.

On the heels of these numbers, the head of Indiana's Gaming Commission says it's becoming more likely that Indiana will make the shift to land-based gambling.

Ernest Yelton says the declining revenues and other factors are helping drive the push that state lawmakers would have to approve.

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