NWI casino revenues feel a November chill

2012-12-10T11:00:00Z 2012-12-12T00:21:06Z NWI casino revenues feel a November chillBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com
December 10, 2012 11:00 am  • 

Northwest Indiana's five casinos raked in $82.2 million in total revenues in November, a 4.5 percent drop from the same month last year, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission's monthly revenue report.

The drop in combined revenues at the five boats in November marks the eighth monthly drop this year, following a statewide trend of declining casino revenues.

The bulk of the overall drop was due to a $4.1 million decline in revenues at Horseshoe casino, representing about a 10.4 percent decrease from revenues there in the year-ago-month.

Horseshoe General Manager Dan Nita attributed most of the decrease to some lucky black jack players and Horseshoe's high limits of $50,000 per hand at some tables.

"We created a few millionaires," Nita said.

The "win" for Horseshoe Casino at the blackjack tables was just $21,976 in November, according to the monthly Indiana Gaming Commission report. That compares to Horseshoe winnings of $3.9 million on black jack in October and $4 million in September, according to gaming commission reports.

The lower casino "win" in November came despite the black jack tables being as busy as ever, with customer cash "drops" similar to October and September.

Two other Northwest Indiana casinos saw smaller declines in November, with revenues at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City and Majestic Star II in Gary dipping 1.1 percent and 2 percent respectively.

Revenues increased to $18.6 million at Ameristar Casino in East Chicago, a 1.6 percent increase from the year-ago-month. Revenues at Majestic Star I in Gary increased to $8.6 million, an increase of 2.4 percent from the year-ago-month.

During a conference call Monday on casino earnings, Nita also was asked about Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr.'s recent proposal for a land-based casino in Hammond.

Nita said it's "well known in some cases our stars align" when it comes to Horseshoe and McDermott – but not when it comes to a land based casino in Hammond, Nita said.

The opening of new casinos just takes another slice out of what is a finite gaming pie, as proved by the drop in other casinos' revenues when the Rivers Casino opened in Des Plaines, Ill., last year, Nita said.

McDermott broached his proposal after years of staunchly opposing the city of Gary's drive for a land-based casino along the Borman Expressway. Some took McDermott's proposal at face value, while others said it was a move to sink Gary's bid for a land-based casino.

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