Northwest Indiana's casinos held their own in May, taking in $78.4 million in gaming win at their tables and slot machines, down just over 1% from a year ago, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission's monthly report issued Monday.
The casinos' taxable revenue, after reductions for "free play" promotions and other items, was down 2.7% from last year.
Ameristar Casino in East Chicago had the largest overall gain in win, of 8.1% to $21.1 million, though its taxable gaming revenue was only slightly above May 2018.
Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City was the other gainer, up 3.5% to $13.2 million. Blue Chip is the only casino with a year-to-date gain, up 1.4% to $63.4 million, just over a year into the introduction of new competition to its east in the form of Four Winds South Bend Casino.
The state's largest casino, Hammond's Horseshoe, saw a drop of 7% to $31.3 million. The casino's vice president and assistant general manager, Noah Hirsch, said the casino was encouraged by increases in the amount of money played at both table games and slot machines.
"We were definitely encouraged by volumes increasing," he said. But, "luck goes both ways."
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"We had the action," Hirsch said, "and our guests played lucky in the month."
Majestic Star was the only casino to see a reduction in slot play. Ameristar saw a slight decline in table-game play, but its win increased year-over-year.
Gary's Majestic Star was off 4% to $13.1 million. For the year through May, Northwest Indiana's casinos are down 4% $386.3 million.
Casinos and horse racing tracks across the state brought in $191.9 million in May, less than one-half percent higher than last May. For the year, the 13 gaming establishments are down 2.4% to $923.2 million.
Horseshoe's Hirsch said the company is still reviewing recent Illinois legislation that will allow a Chicago casino and additional suburban casinos.
"It's pretty complex," he said. "We're still analyzing the bill and assessing its impact."