Region’s casino revenues dip in May
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent June 8, 2012 9:28PM
Updated: July 10, 2012 6:07AM
Revenues remained sluggish in May at Northwest Indiana’s five casinos and several of their competitors across the Illinois border, a sign one casino executive said, that the Chicago area can’t absorb more gaming venues.
Dan Nita, general manager and senior vice president of Horseshoe Hammond Casino, on Friday said Northwest Indiana gaming venues were down about 7 percent while some casinos located near the new Rivers Casino in DesPlaines, Ill., showed revenue drops of more than 20 percent last month compared to May 2011.
“The market is still trying to absorb the new casino. Almost every casino operator struggled last month as the supply exceeded demand,” Nita said.
“It’s very evident adding new casinos will just take away business from existing casino operators not add new business,” Nita said.
Illinois lawmakers Thursday passed a gambling bill that would add a casino in Chicago and four other cities and allow slot machines at horse racing tracks. However, it still isn’t certain whether the number of casinos will jump as Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has opposed the expansion in the past.
Nita said it is difficult to determine what effect tolls, gas prices and the overall economy are having on revenues.
However, Indianapolis gaming analyst Ed Feigenbaum said May’s attendance rates were particularly strong and asked whether the revenue drops weren’t a result of people spending less when they come to the casino rather than people coming to the casinos less.
“I’m not sure what else we could attribute it to,” Nita said.
According to the monthly revenue report released Friday by the Indiana Gaming Commission, Horseshoe Hammond took in $41.6 million in May, compared to $46.2 million in May 2011, Ameristar East Chicago raked in $18.7 million compared to $20.5 million, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City remained flat with $14.8 million in revenues compared to $14.7 million, and Majestic Star I and II casinos took in $17.5 million compared to $18.2 million.
Nita said there also was an extra Sunday in May last year, which usually is a busier day at casinos than a weekday.