Casinos cheer flat revenue for June after months of decline
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent July 9, 2012 5:58PM
Updated: August 11, 2012 6:18AM
Revenues at Northwest Indiana’s five casinos were essentially flat last month compared to the previous year, which is good news for the owners who have seen year-over-year declines in most of the past 12 months.
The casinos together raked in $91.9 million in June, a 0.4 percent decrease from the $92.3 million in revenues taken in during June 2011, according to the monthly casino revenue report released Monday by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
“I’ll take that as good news,” said Dan Nita, general manager and senior vice president of Horseshoe Hammond.
Nita said June was the best performance among the casinos since February, which was one of only two months in the last year in which there was an increase in revenues over the previous year.
Comparatively, he said May revenues were down 7 percent and April down 10 percent over the previous year.
Asked if he thought the $90 million range was the new normal for Northwest Indiana casinos, Nita said May through September numbers usually are pretty comparable due to the seasonality.
Added to the equation is Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is holding the cards to the future revenues of existing casinos in both Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Legislation that would add five new casinos to the 10 currently in Illinois, including a new one in the south suburbs, has been sitting on Quinn’s desk since June 29.
“If the bill were to go through, whether it adds one more or six more casinos, it will cause some potential revenue split. It will hurt Indiana and existing Illinois operators, as well,” Nita said. “That’s why the governor hasn’t taken immediate action. He’s studying this very carefully.”
On a positive note, Nita added that July already is looking strong, due to a combination of people trying to get out of the hot outdoors, two popular concerts at the casino’s Venue and a number of programs.
According to the revenue report, Ameristar East Chicago took in $18.7 million last month compared to $19.9 million in June 2011, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City raked in $14.6 million compared to $13.9 million, Horseshoe Hammond had revenues of $41.6 million last month compared to $41.9 million a year ago and Majestic Star’s two casinos took in a combined $16.9 million compared to $16.8 million last year.