April showers may be reason for NWI casinos’ drop in revenue
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent May 8, 2013 3:08PM
Updated: June 10, 2013 2:03PM
Heavy rains and flooding dampened revenues at Northwest Indiana’s five casinos in April, which showed a 2.9 percent drop overall from the same month last year.
“I didn’t realize the impact the rainstorm would have on both sides of the border,” Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager of Horseshoe Hammond, said Wednesday.
He said it was challenging for some guests to find ways to get to the Hammond casino during the height of the storm and flooding that followed.
“We had two to four days of direct impact,” Nita said.
He said Illinois, which was hit harder by the storms, took a greater hit revenue-wise.
Majestic Star Casinos in Gary took the biggest hit locally. Majestic Star I saw a 9.3 percent drop while Majestic Star II had a 13.3 percent decline, according to revenues released Wednesday by the Indiana Gaming Commission. Majestic Star Casinos took in a total of $15.9 million last month.
Other casinos held fairly steady, with Ameristar Casino in East Chicago taking in $19.4 million, a 2 percent drop over last April; Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City raking in $14.5 million, a .9 percent drop; and Horseshoe Hammond bringing in $41.3 million, a drop of .6 percent.
The casinos took in a total of $91.1 million in revenues last month compared to $94.6 million in April 2012.
This continued a string of declining revenues, broken only last month when the casinos squeezed in a slight gain.
The casinos had an advantage in March with five weekend days compared to four.
Meanwhile, Nita said he is optimistic that Gov. Mike Pence will sign the bill that would give casinos a tax deduction on up to $5 million of free play offered as promotions in a 12-month period.
“We’re optimistic the governor will allow this to proceed. It gives us more of a level playing field,” Nita said.
He has said that Ohio doesn’t tax casinos for free play.