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4/10/2018 7:37:00 PM
Northwest Indiana casinos show strong month in March 2018, take in $93.2 million

Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune Correspondent

Northwest Indiana’s five casinos had a strong month in March, with overall year over year revenues up at all but one location.

The casinos together took in in a total of $93.22 million last month, a 2.8 percent hike over the $90.67 million they raked in during the same month the previous year, according to the monthly revenues report released Tuesday by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Majestic Star I in Gary posted the only decline over March 2017, with a 4 percent dip, going from $9.52 million to $9.14 million.

According to the IGS report, Ameristar Casino in East Chicago had a 9.1 percent hike in revenues, from $21.01 million to $22.92 million, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City's revenues inched up just under 1 percent, from $14.97 million to $15.11 million, Horseshoe Hammond's revenues increased 1.2 percent, from $39.39 million to $40.10 million, and Majestic Star II Casino in Gary had a 2.9 percent jump, from $5.78 million to 5.95 million.

Admissions, on the other hand, were down at all the casinos except Ameristar, where they increased from 196,318 to 198,944.

Noah Hirsch,Vice President and assistant general manager at Horseshoe Hammond, said he was very pleased with March results.

“We’re back to over $40 million in revenues. Despite added competition pressure (from Four Winds Casino in South Bend) we were able to grow our year over year revenue,” Hirsch said.

He attributed the growth to several factors, including having one extra Saturday, a continuous rollout of new slot products and its poker classic, which he said allowed it to grow its market share on the poker side.

Indiana gaming analyst Ed Feigenbaum, editor of Indiana Gaming Insight, said March was strong for the Midwest casino industry overall.

“It seems to be a Midwestern phenomenon. Overall, everyone seems to be doing well,” Feigenbaum said, pointing out that Ohio casinos had a record month.

Illinois casinos had a flat month, revenue-wise, according to Hirsch.

Feigenbaum said Blue Chip operators should be encouraged by its results.

“It was their strongest March since 2013. They’re benefitting from being a full-service casino. South Bend has no table games,” Feigenbaum said.

“Apparently, the market decided table games are important,” Feigenbaum said.

He said table drop was up at four of the casinos as well.

Still, Hirsch said, even with the strong March, the region’s casinos overall are down 2.6 percent in the first quarter compared to this time last year.

“State-wide, we’re still not quite there,” Feigenbaum said.

Hirsch said Illinois casino revenues are down 2.6 percent year to date.

Related Stories:
• Indiana Gaming Commission approves Horseshoe's $85 million inland casino plans

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