Gamblers spending less at casinos
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent
File Photo. Sun-Times Media
Gamblers aren’t necessarily making fewer trips to Northwest Indiana’s five casinos, but they are spending less while there, contributing to yet another year-over-year drop in revenues in July.
The five casinos took in a total of $94.4 million in revenues last month, down 3.3 percent from the $99.2 million the previous July but up 3.8 percent from the $91.8 million in revenues made in June, according to the monthly revenue report issued Wednesday by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
“We’re not necessarily seeing less trips, but there definitely is less spending per visitor,” said Chris Riley, vice president of finance at Horseshoe Hammond Casino.
“The economy continues to not show signs of improvements as we had hoped and increasing gas prices are becoming a factor as well,” said Riley.
He said this year visitors are spending an average of $82 per visit compared to $89 per visit last year.
There also were one less Saturday and one less Sunday last month compared to the previous year, which Riley said impacted all the casino operators evenly.
Another factor affecting casino revenues — new competition from The Rivers in Illinois, which had its one-year anniversary on July 18.
“The economy continues to have an effect on everyone, not just casinos, as individuals have less income to spend on entertainment. In addition many casino guests visit multiple casinos, which has an impact on the market, particularly with increased competition in Des Plaines (from The Rivers),” Matt Schuffert, senior vice president and general manager of Ameristar in East Chicago, said.
The Northwest Indiana casinos have shown year-over-year declines practically every month this year.
According to the Indiana Gaming Commission, Ameristar in East Chicago took in $19.1 million in revenues in July compared to $21.4 million the previous July and $18.7 million in June. Blue Chip raked in $15.8 million last month compared to $16 million the previous July and $14.6 million in June. Horseshoe Hammond had $43 million in revenues in July, compared to $44.4 million the previous July and $41.6 million in June, and Majestic Star Casinos in Gary reported $16.5 million in revenues in July, compared to $17.4 million last July and $16.9 million in June.