NWI casinos hope worst is over

2014-04-07T15:56:00Z 2014-04-08T23:03:14Z NWI casinos hope worst is overBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

Total revenues at Northwest Indiana's five casinos dropped 8.9 percent in March as compared to the year-ago-month, marking the third straight monthly drop this year.

The five gaming boats raked in $95 million total in March as compared to $104.2 million in March 2013, according to the monthly revenue report from the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Horseshoe General Manager Dan Nita noted monthly year-over-year decreases in Northwest Indiana casino revenues that started at nearly 18 percent in December have been cut in half. He and other casino operators are hoping that bodes well for the months ahead.

"The sun is shining, it will be in the 60s this weekend, and the winter of 2014 seems to be behind us," Nita said to start off an afternoon conference call with reporters.

Horseshoe has countered the effects of the severe winter with promotions, including events tied to the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team and its current participation in the "Wheel of Fortune Millionaire Maker Sweepstakes."

Out of the five Northwest Indiana casinos, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City had the smallest drop in revenue. Its total March take of $15 million represented just a 3.3 percent decline from the year before.

Majestic Star I had the next smallest drop in revenue of the five boats, with its total take of $9.8 million representing just a 5.6 percent decline. But its sister boat, Majestic Star II, had the largest decline of any region casino at 16.4 percent.

Ameristar Casino had total March revenues of $20.1 million, an 11.8 percent decline from March 2013.

Horseshoe Casino raked in total revenues of $43.3 million, representing an 8.7 percent decline.

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