CASINO

Indiana casinos blame VGTs for poor April revenues

TAGs: Indiana, VGT, video gaming terminals

The numbers are down for most Indiana casinos in April and operators have one culprit in mind for the lackluster month: video gaming terminals (VGTs).

The Chicago Tribune reported that Northwest Indiana casino revenues sank by 6.9 percent to $80.79 million in April from $86.3 million they raked in during the same period last year.

Indiana casinos blame VGTs for poor April revenuesAccording to the Indiana Gaming Commission, all but Majestic Star I saw a drop in revenue.

Majestic Star raked in $8.65 million casino revenues last month compared with $8.55 million in April 2016.

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

Casino operators cited stiff competition from video gaming machines in bars and other businesses in Illinois as the primary reason for the revenue 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),” Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager at Horseshoe Hammond, said, according to the news report.

Nita reported that Horseshoe’s slots were weaker in April, with revenues sliding 4.5 percent. Table games, on the other hand, manage to eke a 0.5 percent revenue gain. 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.

And then there are those operators who blame Easter for the lackluster casino performance.

Matt Schuffert, senior vice president and general manager at Ameristar in East Chicago, pointed out that the religious holiday is usually a slow business day for casinos.

“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.

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