Casino revenues sail on more even keel in August

2013-09-09T10:20:00Z 2013-09-09T17:55:09Z Casino revenues sail on more even keel in AugustBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com
September 09, 2013 10:20 am  • 

Combined revenues at Northwest Indiana's five casinos dropped 3.1 percent in August compared to a year ago, marking the seventh month this year overall revenues have declined.

The five casinos had total combined revenue of $90.4 million in August, compared to $93.3 million in August 2012, according to the monthly revenue report of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Revenues were down at all five boats, with Horseshoe Casino, in Hammond, notching the smallest drop of 1 percent. Blue Chip Casino, in Michigan City, had the largest decline in revenue at 7 percent, according to the gaming commission.

However, casino operators are drawing some hope from the fact the year-to-year declines have not accelerated, meaning the worst may be over.

Horseshoe Casino in Hammond in August notched one of the 10 top slot machine coin-in days in its history, according to General Manager Dan Nita. And there was coin-out action as well, with one lucky player hitting a $320,000 jackpot on a progressive Wild Cherries machine.

The casino at Hammond's north tip raked in $41.6 million in August, according to the gaming commission report. Nita said he thinks a $50-million month, last seen at the casino in March 2011, is still possible, in comments during an afternoon conference call with reporters.

All the Northwest Indiana gaming boats have been under increasing pressure from Illinois, where the Rivers Casino opened in Des Plaines in August 2011. The addition of slot machines in taverns, restaurants and clubs in Illinois has also upped the ante for gamblers' attention.

The two Majestic Star boats in Gary took in a combined $15.9 million in August, which was a 4.4 percent decrease from August of 2012.

Ameristar Casino, in East Chicago, had a total take of $18.6 million in August, a 3.2 percent drop from the year-ago-month.

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