Northwest Indiana casino revenues see slight drop
BY KAREN CAFFARINI Post-Tribune correspondent September 9, 2013 5:16PM
Updated: October 11, 2013 6:21AM
Year-over-year revenues for August fell 3 percent for Northwest Indiana’s five casinos, staying consistent with revenues for the last several months.
Year-to-date revenues for the five casinos fell 4.5 percent, said Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager for Horseshoe Hammond.
“We’re not seeing a strong fall-off or a major rebound,” Nita said Tuesday, commenting on the monthly numbers released by the Indiana Gaming Commission earlier that day.
Still, Nita is optimistic, saying Horseshoe’s revenues were down just 1 percent in August and its goal is to once again hit the $50 million mark for one month, as it has done several times.
He said the negative effect of the new casino in the northwest Chicago suburb of Des Plaines has subsided and Horseshoe had one of the top 10 days in its history for slot revenues on Aug. 31. Unfortunately, he said that windfall was offset by a windfall by one of its gamers, who won $320,000 on a Wild Cherries progressive slot machine.
Matt Schuffert, senior vice president and general manager of Ameristar in East Chicago, also hopes the casino industry and the economy in general are beginning to turn around.
“There are several economic and competitive challenges that remain; however, we continue to be committed to our core value of innovation,” Schuffert said.
Both Schuffert and Nita said the two casinos are offering various promotions to attract more gamers, Ameristar is giving away 12 new 51-inch TVs every Saturday in September. Horseshoe is offering a promotion in which players can earn up to 50 cents off per gallon of gas at Shell stations.
According to the Gaming Commission report, Ameristar took in $18.3 million in revenues last month compared to $19.1 million the previous August, Blue Chip raked in $14.2 million compared to $15.4 million, Horseshoe Hammond took in $41.5 million compared to $42 million and Majestic Star Casinos in Gary took in a total of $15.9 million compare to $16.7 million in August 2012.
When including free play promotions and other adjustments, Ameristar’s taxable revenues last month inched up to $18.6 million, Blue Chip’s dropped to $13.1 million, Horseshoe’s dropped to $39.6 million and Majestic Stars’ revenues dipped to $13.3 million.
Ameristar was the only Northwest Indiana casino not to use any of its free play promotions money that was granted by the Indiana legislature last year. Schuffert said the casino will continue to evaluate its options regarding the deduction.
Beginning July 1, each casino, including each Majestic Star Casino, can deduct up to $5 million for free play promotions during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.