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Blue Chip Moves "All In" with 130-Million Expansion

11 February 2009

Blue Chip Casino Hotel has given Chicago area gaming fans and Midwest residents seeking an adventurous getaway good reason to go that extra mile to Michigan City, Indiana by creating a $130-million expansion that has converted the property into a bona fide regional entertainment destination.

The centerpiece is the strikingly beautiful and upscale hotel tower, Spa Blu, which towers 22-stories above the Michigan City skyline and features 272 beautifully appointed rooms and 30 luxury suites.

On the second level of the tower and accessible from the hotel lobby is spa blu, a 10,000-square-foot spa with all the amenities associated with such a venue, including massages and facials, as well as hair, manicure, pedicure and makeup services.

There's also a fitness room and individual men's and women's lounges with steam rooms, experiential showers and whirlpools highlighted by water walls, and topped off by infused beverages, fruit, snacks and soothing music provided in the seating areas.

"Casinos attract a broad range of customers," said Keith Smith, president and CEO of Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, owner and operator of Blue Chip. "There are certainly those who just want to enjoy entertainment close to their homes.

"But there are people who are looking for a little bit of getaway, who want a little nicer hotel room, maybe a spa treatment, and to enjoy the casino and some nice restaurants. This (expansion) supplements and expands our product offering and allows us to draw people from further away."

Rob Stillwell, Boyd Gaming's vice president of corporate communications, acknowledged that when Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan opened in the summer of 2007, it "definitely had an impact" on business at Blue Chip, but he offered this caveat:

"It was probably exacerbated by the fact that we were under construction," Stillwell said.

Now that the project is completed, including the addition of two new restaurant offerings, "It's Vegas Baby!" and "The Game", as well as the 20,000-square-foot Stardust Events Center, company executives hope to reclaim some lost market share and pick up new business from both near and far.

"I think Illinois was significantly impacted by the smoking ban and we can take advantage of drawing some of that business into the state of Indiana and being successful," Smith said.

"We certainly have great confidence in the health of this market and in the health of gaming in the state of Indiana," Smith said. We have over $300 million invested here over the last several years."

It's Vegas Baby! brings a classic Las Vegas nightclub atmosphere to Michigan City, offering entertainment five nights a week after 10:00 p.m. and an imaginative menu of appetizers, entrees and desserts.

The Game, open seven days a week, is the perfect place for sports fans to congregate and feel as if they're in a Las Vegas sports book. Flat screen televisions throughout the room and comfortable seating team up with great game-day foods, such as the Black and Blue Chip Burger, to create a fun experience.

"The expansion and the strategy was not just about a younger demographic, but a much broader demographic," Smith said.

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