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NWI casinos

The high-limit room at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, one of the table game areas in the casino's 108,000-square-foot gaming facility. Northwest Indiana's casinos recorded a 4.3 percent increase in gaming revenue in September as compared to the same month a year ago.

Northwest Indiana's casinos had their best September since 2013 as they recorded $77.4 million of gaming income last month, a 4.3 percent increase over September 2016. 

The casinos' "win" total, reported by the Indiana Gaming Commission Wednesday, was a result of increases in both table game and slot machine play.

Table revenue was up 4.3 percent, to $15.9 million on $80.7 million played. Slot revenue was up 1.9 percent, to $60.4 million on $637.5 million played.

"Volume is up and win is up. That's a good sign," said Matt Schuffert, Ameristar senior vice president and general manager .

Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, the state's largest casino, led the gains in September with a 7.2 increase to $33.9 million.

"This makes for Horseshoe five consecutive months of growth," said Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager.

Ameristar East Chicago was up 3.5 percent, to $17.1 million, and Michigan City's Blue Chip was up 2.8 percent to $13.7 million.

Majestic Star's two casinos in Gary were down less than one-half of 1 percent, with a win of $12.6 million.

Schuffert said growth in both table games and slot machines is a positive sign, particularly on the slot side, which has seen significant decline with the growth of video gambling outside of casinos in Illinois.

"For a few months in a row we've seen year-over-year growth in slots," Schuffert said of Ameristar's results, calling it "a reversal we're happy to see."

The number of customers entering the Region's casinos was down less than 1 percent to 789,526. Horseshoe was up nearly 2 percent in visitors, while the other casinos were down.

For the year through September, Northwest Indiana gaming revenue is down 1.2 percent to $713.6 milion. The casinos have been steadily shrinking a deficit created by a slow start to the year, which had their revenue down 5.8 percent after February.

"We started the month strong and finished the month strong," Nita said. "We chipped away at some of the shortfall with a solid month of September."

Casinos in the greater Chicago area saw collective growth of 3.7 percent, Nita said. But he cautioned not to read current results as a long-term trend, noting continued growth in video-gaming units and revenue in Illinois.

Indiana's 13 gambling establishments had 6.2 percent higher year-over-year win in September, bringing in $188.5 million. Total admissions had a slight decline similar to the Region's, to just over 1.3 million.

The state's casinos paid $3.9 million in admissions tax and $36.9 million in wagering tax in September.


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.