October casino revenues down from previous year
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent November 8, 2013 6:14PM
Updated: December 11, 2013 6:43AM
Northwest Indiana’s five casinos had another lackluster month overall in October, with only front-runner Horseshoe in Hammond showing a year-over-year gain, at just over 2 percent, and Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City having the only increase in admissions.
The five casinos collectively took in $83 million in October, compared to $86.9 million in October 2012, according to the monthly casino revenue report issued Friday by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
On the positive side, the casinos saw their collective revenues jump 3 percent from September to October, somewhat unusual as October tends to be a slow month.
“For us it feels like it’s an encouraging sign. It’s not a huge, robust growth, but it’s moving in the right direction,” said Erin Chamberlin, assistant general manager at Horseshoe Hammond.
“September was a really rough month.”
Chamberlin said she feels good about how Horseshoe performed in October compared to the rest of the market. Horseshoe Hammond’s revenues increased from $40.1 million in October 2012 to $40.8 million last month.
Blue Chip’s revenues stayed the same as last October’s at $13.5 million while Ameristar in East Chicago saw revenues drop from $18.2 million in October 2012 to $16.4 million last month and Majestic Star Casinos saw its revenues dip from $15.1 million to $12.3 million.
Those numbers exclude free play and other allowances which are subtracted to figure taxable income.
Reginald Dotson, a spokesman for Ameristar, said the free play deductions made available to casinos by the Indiana legislature last year have been beneficial, allowing the casino to provide more of the promotions its gamers have been seeking, including a Mercedes-Benz giveaway and a free buffet meal for veterans on Veterans Day.
Chamberlin said Horseshoe will announce its biggest promotion in the history of the Hammond property on Nov. 12.
Beginning July 1, each casino, including each Majestic Star Casino, is able to deduct up to $5 million for free play promotions during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014.
Blue Chip saw its turnstile count increase from 195,819 last October to 198,015 last month. Ameristar’s admissions dropped from 229,076 to 193,504, Horseshoe’s dipped from 412,351 to 397,701 and admissions at Majestic Stars’ two casinos slid from 208,788 to 192,624.
Chamberlin said the turnstile count isn’t the most important metric at Horseshoe. While Horseshoe’s year-over-year admissions is off, she said, it’s to a lesser degree than its competitors.