|By Susan Erler, The Times, Munster,
Ind.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 10, 2008 - Hammond's Horseshoe Casino outshone competitors in November to lift Northwest Indiana riverboat revenue out of the doldrums.
Horseshoe took in $46.5 million for the month to drive the five Lake Michigan docked casinos' combined revenue to $101.8 million, a 5.1 percent increase from November 2007.
October combined revenue was $96.4 million.
The $500 million Horseshoe expansion unveiled in August has proven a draw to gamblers even in tough economic times, said Ed Feigenbaum, whose Indiana Gaming Insight tracks the state's casino industry.
"They've established their preeminence in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland," Feigenbaum said. "Obviously, they're the shining star."
The other four local casinos all reported declining revenue in November, including Blue Chip in Michigan City, which continues to struggle against competition from the Four Winds tribal casino in New Buffalo, Mich.
Blue Chip's $13.9 million take in November was down by 10.7 percent from a year earlier.
A $180 million, 22-story designer hotel expected to open early next year could help turn the tide for Blue Chip.
"We have seen that when casinos expand their options and offer new amenities, they tend to see an increase in visitation and revenue," Feigenbaum said.
Ameristar in East Chicago, formerly Resorts casino, reported revenue of $23.8 million in November, down by 4 percent from a year earlier but a nearly 10 percent climb from October.
November admissions to the East Chicago riverboat increased by 2.6 percent from October.
Don Barden's two Majestic Star casinos in Gary took in a combined $17.5 million in November, down by 13.4 percent from a year earlier and a 2 percent drop from October.
Close to 229,000 gamblers passed through turnstiles at Majestic Star I and II, down from 250,400 a year earlier and from just over 229,000 in October.
Horseshoe's November take of $46.5 million was a 28.6 percent increase from last year and a nearly 10 percent increase from October. Attendance climbed by 39 percent to 451,065 in November from a year earlier, but was down 3.3 percent from October.
Combined attendance at the five casinos hit 1,102,357 in November, up 7.1 percent from a year earlier but down slightly from October.
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