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Blue Chip Casino Keeping Pace with the Times

13 June 2007

The Northwest Indiana casino gambling landscape will undergo some dramatic changes during the next 12 months. Consider the following developments:

  • This August, the gigantic land-based Four Winds Casino Resort, a Native American development of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, will open in the far southern reaches of lower Michigan in the town of New Buffalo, just over the Indiana border and only 70 miles or so due east of Chicago.
  • Last April, news broke that Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos, Inc. will acquire Resorts East Chicago Hotel Casino with plans to pump $200 million into the property and expand the casino to 4,000 slot machines and 120 table games by 2010.
  • The new Horseshoe Casino in Hammond will open in the summer of 2008 with a $465-million facility.

Meanwhile, things aren't standing still at the Blue Chip Casino Hotel in Michigan City either. The new Blue Chip gaming vessel with a spacious 65,000 sq. ft. casino, the largest in the greater Chicago market, has been open for over a year now and has proven to be a great success for the property's owner, Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming.

When I spoke with the Blue Chip's newly appointed vice-president and general manager, Ted Bogich, a 19-year veteran of the casino industry, he revealed that construction plans that are already underway will ensure the destination remains a viable force in the intensely competitive market:

"We're getting ready to take yet another step forward in the evolution of this property to a premier gaming destination in this area," Bogich said. "We're looking at taking it to another level with a pretty significant development that includes a 300-room, 22-story hotel. It's going to be a dramatic addition to Michigan City."

The new hotel, Bogich revealed, "will be at a level which is pretty consistent with our Borgata property in Atlantic City", adding: "We're also looking at a couple of other components that will be part of that expansion; entertainment and things that go beyond just the dining and the gaming."

All 184 rooms of the existing hotel complex were recently renovated, including a conversion of the eighth floor to all suites. By the time the new hotel development opens in December of 2008, the accommodations at Blue Chip will increase to nearly 500 rooms.

There's also room for expansion on the gaming vessel, but at the present time Bogich feels the existing casino space is sufficient.

"We do have the opportunity if we feel there is ever the need to expand and add some gaming one level below our current casino," he said. "We don't have immediate plans to expand to that area but it gives us the flexibility in the future if we believe the demand is sufficient for us to be able to do that."

In the face of increased competition and major capital investment on behalf of the owners of neighboring properties, Bogich remains confident about Blue Chip's future:

"We believe we have a beautiful casino that is competitive with anything that is going to be available in this region," he said, "and by augmenting that casino with an expanded hotel product and some of the other features that we're going to be adding to this property, we believe that we will remain highly competitive and a very desirable alternative for people seeking gaming and entertainment in this area."

CASINO NEWS: Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee has partnered with three downtown hotels (Hotel Metro, The Ambassador and Intercontinental) for special VIP "stay & play" getaway packages that include complimentary limousine service, temporary membership in the exclusive high-limit Solstice Lounge, and $50 or $100 in bonus play. For information contact the hotels directly, call Potawatomi at (800) PAYSBIG or log on to www.paysbig.com.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp