Blue Chip Casino gets winning expansion

Thrifty Gambler
2009-02-06T00:00:00Z Blue Chip Casino gets winning expansionJOHN G. BROKOPP
Times Features Columnist
February 06, 2009 12:00 am  • 

Blue Chip Casino Hotel has given Chicago area gaming fans seeking an adventurous getaway good reason to go that extra mile to Michigan City. A $130-million expansion has converted the property into a bona fide regional entertainment destination.

The centerpiece is the strikingly beautiful, upscale hotel tower, which looms 22 stories above the Michigan City skyline and features 272 beautifully appointed rooms and 30 luxury suites.

On the tower's second level, and accessible from the hotel lobby, is spa blu, with amenities including massages, facials, hair, manicure, pedicure and makeup services.

There's also a fitness room and individual men's and women's lounges with steam rooms, experiential showers and whirlpools highlighted by water walls, and topped off by infused beverages, fruit, snacks and soothing music provided in the seating areas.

"Casinos attract a broad range of customers," said Keith Smith, president and CEO of Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, owner and operator of Blue Chip. "There are certainly those who just want to enjoy entertainment close to their homes.

"But there are people who are looking for a little bit of a getaway, who want a little nicer hotel room, maybe a spa treatment and to enjoy the casino and some nice restaurants. This (expansion) supplements and expands our product offering and allows us to draw people from farther away."

Rob Stillwell, Boyd Gaming's vice president of corporate communications, said when Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., opened in the summer of 2007, it "definitely had an impact" on business at Blue Chip.

Now that the project is completed, including the addition of two new restaurants, It's Vegas Baby! and The Game, as well as the 20,000-square-foot Stardust Events Center, company executives hope to reclaim some lost market share and pick up new business.

"I think Illinois was significantly impacted by the smoking ban, and we can take advantage of drawing some of that business into the state of Indiana and being successful," Smith said.

It's Vegas Baby! brings a classic Las Vegas nightclub atmosphere to Michigan City, offering entertainment five nights a week after 10 p.m. and an imaginative menu of appetizers, entrees and desserts.

The Game, open seven days a week, is the perfect place for sports fans to congregate. Flat-screen TVs and comfortable seating team up with great game-day foods to create a fun experience.

Casino news

Seafood lovers are going to appreciate this great deal recently added to the menu at Empress Casino Joliet Buffet: A whole lobster for just $2 extra every Friday night. The price for the Friday seafood dinner buffet, open from 3 to 10 p.m., is $17.99.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at

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