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Ameristar Casino opened its high limit slots and table games room

The high limit room at Ameristar Casino in East Chicago is shown. The casino recorded another increase in gaming revenue in September.

Northwest Indiana's casinos saw gaming revenue decline in September as compared to a year ago, but after three quarters of 2018 they're still within one percent of last year's win total from their table games and slot machines.

Region casinos' total win of $74.6 million in September was 3.9 percent down from September 2017, which was a particularly strong month. This year's September was slightly ahead of the same month in 2016.

"That makes, throughout the course of the year, four months of year-over-year growth and five months of year-over-year decline," Horseshoe Casino Sr. Vice President and General Manager Dan Nita noted.

The back-and-forth has resulted in a 0.7 decline in gaming win for the year through September, to $708.4 million. Nita attributed some of the difficulty to the Four Winds Casino that opened earlier this year and put particular pressure on slot machine play.

"Overall, for the year, it's pretty much how we expected things to roll out," he said. "We definitely see the impact of the new competition in South Bend."

Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City, the closest to Four Winds, saw the most significant drop, of 6.7 percent to $12.8 million. Horseshoe Hammond's decline of 6.6 percent brought it to $31.7 million, and Majestic Star in Gary recorded a 4.8 percent decline to $12 million.

Ameristar East Chicago was the sole gainer, with $18.1 million representing a 6 percent increase from a year ago. Ameristar has had only one down month this year. 

Nita said casinos on the Illinois side of the Chicago area recorded a 6.1 percent year-over-year decline gaming revenue in September.

Statewide, Indiana's casinos and race tracks brought in $182.3 million,a 3.3 percent year-over-year decline. That brought their 2018 revenue to $1.7 billion, a 0.6 percent decline from the first three quarters of 2017.

The gaming establishments paid the state $39.2 million in wagering taxes last month.


Transportation Reporter

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.