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Casino revenue picture shows improvement

Updated: July 11, 2014 6:28AM



Two Northwest Indiana casinos chalked up the region’s first year-over-year increases in revenue for 2014 in May, while declines slowed at other casinos in the region and across the state.

Ameristar Casino’s $20.2 million in revenue reflected a 3.4 percent increase over last May, while Blue Chip Casino’s $14 million in revenue was 3 percent higher than a year ago. Ameristar is in East Chicago, and Blue Chip is in Michigan City.

Horseshoe Hammond’s $38.5 million in revenue reflected a 6.3 percent drop, Majestic Star I’s $8.6 million was 2.7 percent less than the previous May and Majestic Star II’s $6.0 million was a 20 percent drop. The Majestic Star Casinos are in Gary.

The five casinos took in a total of $87.4 million in revenue during may, 3.6 percent less than in May 2013.

Matt Schuffert, vice president and general manager of Ameristar Casino, said May was a “great month for us,” attributing the higher revenue in part to the recent introduction of a new loyalty rewards program and adding 13 tables at the casino.

Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager of Horseshoe Hammond, said attendance at the Hammond casino was down 6 percent compared to May 2013.

“This is not unlike what we’re seeing at almost every other jurisdiction,” Nita said of the declines in attendance and revenue.

Northwest Indiana casinos have seen their year-over-year revenue declines improve each month since January, when there was a 17 percent drop from the previous January.

Statewide, the year-over-year decline in casino income in January was 21.9 percent, according to Ed Feigenbaum, editor of Indiana Gaming Insight, who said that figure improved to 6.3 percent in May.

“That was ... lowest percent decline we’ve seen statewide this calendar year,” he said. “Every month this year we’ve seen the decline get smaller.”

On the downside, this is the first May in a decade that Indiana’s total gambling revenue has dipped below $200 million, and the state didn’t have the racinos in 2003, Feigenbaum said.

Nita said the slot business continues to be in decline at the casinos, while revenue from table games is improving. The video gambling terminals now at bars, restaurants and fraternal halls in Illinois are one factor cutting into Indiana’s slot revenue, he said.



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