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Ameristar Gets Down to Business in East Chicago21 November 2007
Veteran gaming industry executive Timothy D. Wright knows the casino business inside and out. It's one of the reasons the hierarchy of Ameristar appointed him senior vice president and general manager of Resorts East Chicago as the first order of business after officially taking over the property nearly two months ago.
The process of change has already begun, but according to Wright it's going to a gradual one to keep in step with the plans Ameristar has mapped out for its highly anticipated entry into this market.
"While we're looking within a 12-month window to have the re-branding of the property complete, in the months to come you'll start seeing some significant improvements to the property from an aesthetic standpoint," Wright told me. "In addition to that, we'll be upgrading our slot product, and as well upgrading and updating our table games product."
How that translates into better games and looser slots remains to be seen, although it can't be any worse. Under the previous owner, Resorts International, East Chicago lagged behind the eight other casino destinations in the Chicago area in slot payback.
Wright wouldn't get into specifics on what the changes may be, but he hinted that the formula for success that Ameristar has used so effectively at its other locations around the country will be put in force in this market.
"We have a pretty successful program with our games mix," he said. One of the things Ameristar is big on is engaging our guests. As we continue moving in new products, they'll be along the lines of what our guests appreciate and what they like to play."
Wright's casino industry experience includes an extensive background in food and beverage. His stints in an executive capacity at the Ameristar destinations in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri will serve him well in his new capacity.
"Our guests are going to see an incredible upgrading to our food and beverage experiences," Wright said. "At our Missouri properties we're very well known for 'the seducing of the belly' as I like to call it. We're actually going to be building an on-site bakery to complement all of our dining venues."
The initial phase of the transition process has been dedicated to the Resorts employee base, which, as Wright observed, is experiencing the third ownership change since the property opened as Showboat Mardi Gras Casino in 1996.
"Ameristar practices a hands-on management approach," Wright noted. "I've observed tremendous enthusiasm from our Team Members. The investment during the first few weeks wasn't on any material items on-property, but to the Team Member base and introducing them to the Ameristar way of doing things."
Ameristar Casinos has long-range expansion plans for the property, including a new single-level gaming facility. Company executives, however, are keeping an eye on what may happen in the Chicago area in the way of casino expansion on the Illinois side.
The company has a proven track record of investment in the properties it owns. A massive expansion of Ameristar St. Charles in Missouri is in its final phase.
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This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
Best of John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp