Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa has become such a part of the Michigan City, skyline during its 20-year presence that it’s difficult to imagine life among the Northwest Indiana community’s resort and lake front amenities without it.
Ted Bogich, the property’s executive vice president of operations, knows all too well. He has been a primary component of the leadership team for 18 years and has watched Blue Chip rise from a local three-deck gaming vessel to a destination caliber casino resort.
“As we celebrate this landmark anniversary in the history of Blue Chip, I can tell you first hand that it is the dedication of people, our team members, who bring the property to life,” said Bogich, who came on board in 1999 when the casino was purchased by Boyd Gaming Corporation.
Bogich served as general manager from 2007 to 2013 prior to being summoned to Las Vegas to serve in a corporate executive capacity. With roots still deep in the Region, he keeps his family home in Chesterton, Indiana where he stays when he’s on the road.
Launched in August of 1997 after being the only Indiana casino vessel to be constructed on site, Blue Chip underwent further development in 2000 when a hotel complex was unveiled, followed two years later by an expansion of the third deck which brought the casino gaming space to 42,500 square feet.
Las Vegas based Boyd Gaming, one of the biggest and most respected names in the world-wide casino gaming industry, had a grander vision for the property that would far surpass what many people may have imagined.
“Boyd Gaming invested heavily in improvements to create essentially one of the premiere destinations in the Midwest,” said Bogich, who now oversees all of the company’s properties not only in Indiana but also Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
“The multi-dimensional nature of this resort makes it not just about the gambling, but also the dining, a world-class spa, Stardust Event Center, and meeting and convention space that attracts business from a wide area.”
The first step was a $170-million investment in a massive new single level, 65,000-square foot casino, aboard a U.S. Coast Guard certified vessel that was constructed with the largest hull size of any riverboat casino in the nation.
Whereas Illinois permitted casinos aboard permanently docked barges, Indiana regulations held fast to the riverboat requirement. It's to the credit of Boyd Gaming that they chose to make the investment in a boat that must abide by all marine standards yet will never move.
Opened on Jan. 31 of 2006, the new casino was the first casino in this market to create a true Las Vegas style entertainment experience.
The attention to detail, including the lighting, the high ceilings (14 to 20 feet), the aisle space, marble pathways, and elegant décor clearly put Blue Chip in a class by itself.
Boyd Gaming wasn’t finished yet. That project was followed by yet another development, this time a $130-million expansion headlined by a 22-story hotel tower, a 20,000-square foot convention and entertainment facility, and a spa and fitness center.
The unveiling of Blue Chip Casino as Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa came in December of 2009.
The new hotel wasn’t conceived by Boyd as a brick and mortar structure, but rather a work of art to complement the Michigan City lakeshore and make it the focal point of the resort city’s skyline.
World renowned architect Lucien Lagrange was called upon for the design, and he came through with a masterpiece not only uniquely appealing to the eye but containing beautifully appointed rooms and views the likes of which are unrivaled.
The 10,000-square foot Spa Blu was created on the second level with a truly unique look designed by Natural Resources Spa Consulting, Inc., of Sonoma Valley, California.
Treatment rooms at Spa Blu include two rooms for facials, a wet treatment room, four single massage rooms, and massage and treatment rooms for couples. A salon for men and women offers hair, manicure, pedicure, and makeup services.
Spa guests are also be treated to individual men's and women's lounges with steam rooms, experiential showers, and whirlpools highlighted by water walls. The experience is enhanced with infused beverages, fruit, snacks and soothing music.
“The upgrades and renovation we made to the original Blue Chip Tower brought our capacity to 486 rooms,” Bogich noted. “We take pride in our reputation as a high quality, top tourist destination. We’re very proud of the people who come here from all the surrounding states and beyond.”
The investment of well over $300-million that Boyd Gaming has made in its Michigan City, Indiana property is testimony to the high regard with which it holds maintaining a competitive edge and giving back to the community.
An award winning steakhouse, William B.’s, the expansive Options Buffet, night life hot spot It’s Vegas Baby!, full service sports bar The Game, Nelson’s Deli, and Rock’s Lounge make Blue Chip Casino, Resort & Spa one of the gems in the Boyd Gaming family.
“The tremendous pride we take in the quality of the food we serve, the banquets we host, our hotel room service, and lounges bring everything together at Blue Chip to make us what we are,” Bogich said. “We look forward to continuing to provide each and every guest with a special experience.”