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Best of John G. Brokopp

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Hollywood Casino Expansion Complete

5 August 2002

The conversion of the Hollywood Casino in Aurora from a twin-vessel riverboat gambling operation to a permanent single-level dockside casino is complete. The grand opening of the second phase of the $78.2 million expansion project brings Hollywood's gaming space to 53,000 square feet, an increase of 80 percent.

Hollywood becomes the second Chicago-area casino property to abandon riverboat casino-style gaming in favor of a single-level dockside facility. Harrah's Joliet made the conversion last year. The Empress Casino in Joliet and the Grand Victoria in Elgin remain riverboat operations as do all of the casinos in Northwest Indiana.

The first phase of Hollywood's expansion was completed last February. While work was being done to complete phase two, a portion of one of the existing riverboats remained open to accommodate gamblers. Now all of the 1,200 gaming positions (including 1,105 slot machines) are located in the plush new casino, which features high ceilings and a new air filtration system.

The popular Hollywood Epic Buffet has been renovated and relocated to a position in the pavilion overlooking the casino. It has been upgraded significantly to include food stations and increased seating capacity. The new Take Two Snack Bar is open on the first floor of the pavilion in the area previously occupied by Louie's Diner, which was relocated to the third floor.

The new casino area proper features the Legend's Bar, which has new bar-top video poker machines and a giant screen TV. Additional improvements include a new non-smoking slot area, a new player's club booth, and a new cashier station with four windows reserved exclusively for coin redemption.

Slated to open sometime next month is a new valet parking facility, which will increase Hollywood's parking capacity by approximately 30 percent and which will connect directly to the new casino via a covered walkway over the Fox River.

***

Have you ever wondered just how much money the average slot machine makes? I think you'll be surprised at these figures from the April, 2002 monthly riverboat casino report from the Illinois Gaming Board. The average adjusted gross receipts (money handled less winnings paid to bettors) for EACH ONE of the Grand Victoria's 1,050 "electronic gaming devices" was $908 PER DAY during the month of April. Multiply that by 30 days and you get $27,240 in average casino win from EACH machine during the month. Multiply that by 12 months and you get $326,880 in average casino win from EACH machine during the course of a year.

Elgin's Grand Victoria had the highest average daily slot win among the four Chicago-area casinos in Illinois from each of its machines. Second highest was Harrah's Joliet with $708 per day, next was Hollywood Aurora with $554, followed by Joliet Empress with $518.

Keep in mind that the casinos are taxed heavily on this win, but it's still a nifty profit no matter which way you look at it. That kind of earning power coming from a machine that costs less than $10,000 brand new, requires little maintenance, no pay, and no benefits is quite remarkable.

***

Did you know that there are more than 7,000 slot machines in place at 94 American military bases overseas? More than $125 million is raised annually from the machines to pay for the construction of clubs, bowling alleys, and golf courses on the bases.

***

A tip of the hat to Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. for the $200,000 grant it gave to Senior Services of Central Illinois, Inc., for the construction of a new Harrah's Wing at its Springfield Senior Citizen's Center. The 2,000-square-foot Harrah's Wing will be utilized for a variety of programs and activities and will feature a computer and continuing education classroom, meeting area and space for seniors to receive individual counseling and case management.

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