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Boyd Gaming Takes Blue Chip to the Next Level

18 June 2008

Less than three years after making a $170-million investment in a new gaming vessel for Blue Chip Casino Hotel, Boyd Gaming is in the home stretch of a $130 million expansion for the Michigan City, Indiana property.

The ambitious project is headlined by a 22-story, 302-room hotel tower, a 20,000-square-foot convention and entertainment facility, spa and fitness center, and a new restaurant.

"We're looking at December for the grand opening of this property, and I think we're on schedule for that," said Boyd Gaming's president and chief executive officer Keith Smith, who flew in from corporate headquarters in from Las Vegas for the topping off ceremony last month.

The new hotel, combined with the 184 rooms available in the existing facility, will give Blue Chip the largest capacity of any hotel in the area.

Equally significant is the fact the increase to 30,000 square feet of convention and entertainment space that will be the catalyst for larger business meetings, conventions, trade shows, exhibitions and special events.

The entertainment center will include a 15,000 square foot ballroom, which will seat 1,300 people theatre-style.

"I think the ballroom itself will give us the opportunity to do more entertainment-oriented events," said Paul J. Chakmak, Chief Operating Officer. "We'll have the facilities to do a lot of things we can't do today because we don't have the space."

Las Vegas-style luxury is also on its way to Michigan City. Blue Chip's expansion includes the 10,000 square foot spa blu, which will be located on the second floor of the new hotel tower. The unique look of the facility was designed by Natural Resources Spa Consulting, Inc., of Sonoma Valley, California.

Treatment rooms at spa blu will include two rooms for facials, a wet treatment room, four single massage rooms, and massage and treatment rooms for couples. A salon for men and women will offer hair, manicure, pedicure, and makeup services.

Spa guests will also be treated to individual men's and women's lounges with steam rooms, experiential showers, and whirlpools highlighted by water walls. The experience will be enhanced with infused beverages, fruit, snacks and soothing music.

The opening of the new Blue Chip hotel will top off an eventful year for casino gambling properties in North and Northwest Indiana. Horseshoe Hammond is opening a new $465-million facility this summer. Later this year, Resorts East Chicago will officially be branded an Ameristar Casino property.

Blue Chip and Boyd Gaming officials are hopeful the upgrades will put the property in better position to compete with Four Winds Casino Resort in nearby New Buffalo, Michigan and take advantage of the tourist opportunities being created in the region.

CASINO NEWS: For the fourth consecutive year, Blue Chip will host the Great Lakes Classic June 26 – 29. The event, which features the best female pool players in the world, is one of eight ESPN-televised tournaments on the Women's Professional Billiard Association tour.

The field of 64 competitors will include defending champion Xiaoting Pan, as well as top-ranked Allison Fisher, the Classic winner in both 2005 and 2006.

For tickets call 888-879-7711, Ext. 3608, or visit the Blue Chip gift shop in the pavilion.

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