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5/12/2017 11:37:00 AM
Northwest Indiana casino revenues drop almost 7 percent in April 2017

Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune Correspondent

Northwest Indiana's casinos saw their revenues sink in April compared to the same month last year.

The five casinos together took in $80.79 million last month, a 6.9 percent drop from the $86.3 million they raked in during April 2016.

Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager at Horseshoe Hammond, blamed competition from video gaming machines in bars and other business in Illinois for the slide.

"There are two divergent stories. Table games have been quite stable and grown ever so slightly, but that can't offset the decline in slot machines due to the (video gaming machines,)" Nita said.

Table games at Horseshoe were up .5 percent while the slot side was down 4.5 percent last month, he said.

Matt Schuffert, senior vice president and general manager at Ameristar in East Chicago, said Easter was another factor. The religious holiday fell in April this year and March last year.

"Easter is always a slower weekend for us. Without that, we would have been about the same as last year," Schuffert said.

April marked the 20th anniversary for the East Chicago casino and it celebrated with Saturday blackjack tournaments and other smaller promotions, Schuffert said.

According to the monthly revenues released May 10 by the Indiana Gaming Commission, only Majestic Star I in Gary had an increase in revenue. The casino had revenues of $8.65 million compared to $8.55 million in April 2016.

Ameristar took in $18.16 million last month compared to $21.16 million in April 2016, Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City brought in $13.49 million compared to $14.02 million, Horseshoe Hammond raked in $35.11 million compared to $36.62 million and Majestic Star II took in $5.38 million compared to $5.95 million.

Nita said the casinos in Illinois fared better,, down only 1 percent collectively year–over year.

"There were some winners and some losers. We've seen in the last couple months that Illinois has fared better," Nita said.

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