NWI casino revenues drop in September

2013-10-08T15:00:00Z 2013-10-08T16:19:23Z NWI casino revenues drop in SeptemberBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

Northwest Indiana casino revenues dropped 7.3 percent in September as compared to the year-ago-month, with the five boats raking in a total of $82.6 million, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Horseshoe Casino, in Hammond, had the smallest decline of any of the Northwest Indiana casinos, with revenues in September just 1.7 percent less than in September 2012 at the Hammond boat. Ameristar Casino, in East Chicago, had the largest decline with revenues down 14.8 percent as compared to a year ago.

Ameristar Vice President and General Manager Matt Schuffert attributed the drop in part to the early Labor Day weekend shaving one Saturday off the month.

“Many of our guests often visit during the weekends and holidays," Schuffert said. "During September 2012, our guests enjoyed five Saturdays, including the full Labor Day holiday weekend, as opposed to just four Saturdays in September 2013.”

Horseshoe Casino executives acknowledged it was a rough month for Northwest Indiana casinos in October. But the five boats still outperformed their Chicagoland counterparts, who suffered an overall 7.8 percent revenue decline.

"If you look at the overall Chicagoland market numbers, we are pleased we outdid many of our competitors even in a rough month," said Horseshoe Assistant General Manager Erin Chamberlin.

Casinos locally are still assessing the effects of new competition such as video slot machines in Illinois taverns and truck stops, Chamberlin said. But they are taking heart from the bulk of those machines are located in communities 50 or more miles away.

Combined revenues at the two Majestic Star casinos, in Gary, were $14.8 million in September, down 5.8 percent from the year-ago month.

Blue Chip Casino, in Michigan City, had the second largest year-to-year revenue drop with total revenues of $12.8 million in October, as compared to $19.5 million in the year-ago-month, for a 13.8 percent drop.

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