Ameristar Casino opened its high limit slots and table games room

Ameristar Casino's high limit room is shown. Gaming revenue at the East Chicago casino ticked up slightly in March as compared to a year ago.

Northwest Indiana's casinos ended the first quarter of 2019 with gaming revenue off 3.6 percent from the same period a year ago, having taken in $229.4 million at their table games and slot machines the first three months of this year.

March revenue, reported Thursday by the Indiana gaming commission, was down 1.9 percent to $91.4 million. The casinos are trying to fight back from a weather-beaten January, when year-over-year revenue was down 10.7 percent. In February, they recorded a 1.5 percent gain before dipping just below even last month.

Blue Chip Casino posted a 1.6 percent gain in March, to $15.3 million. The Michigan City casino is outpacing 2018 by 2.2 percent, with $37.5 million in first-quarter gaming win. Ameristar Casino in East Chicago recorded the Region's other March gain, up less than 1 percent to $23 million. Ameristar is down 4.3 percent for the first quarter, to $56.2 million.

Keep reading for FREE!
Enjoy more articles by signing up or logging in. No credit card required.

Majestic Star Casino in Gary, under new ownership after its purchase by newly formed Spectacle Entertainment, had a 2.4 percent decline in gaming win at its two Buffington Harbor boats. Its March revenue of $14.7 million brought its quarterly total to $38.2 million, up less than 1 percent from a year ago. Horseshoe Hammond saw a 4.5 percent drop, to $38.3 million.

Horseshoe's patrons reaped the benefit from that, said its general manager, Dan Nita.

"We grew our slot volume and we grew our table drop," he said, citing increases in the amount of money played. But players at the tables, in particular, kept a higher percentage of the money gambled this year.

Gaming win revenue at the state's casinos was off 1.7 percent in March, to $217.4 million. For the quarter, the $548.4 million haul is down 2 percent from the first quarter of 2018. Nita said revenue on the Illinois side of the Chicago market was up slightly in March.


Assistant Deputy Editor

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.