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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Horseshoe Kicks Up Its Heels

7 January 2004

While the Chicago-area casino industry on the Illinois side stagnates under the burden of an oppressive tax on revenues, in addition to political and legal haggling, it continues to prosper in Northwest Indiana.

Illinois casinos, with the exception of the Grand Victoria in Elgin, subject guests to admission and re-entry charges, curtailed hours of operation, and cutbacks in service. Casinos in Northwest Indiana are open 24 hours a day, charge no admission, and continue to improve on services and amenities.

Today the spotlight is on Jack Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Hammond where the slot product has been improved and the gaming floor expanded to give the space-challenged vessel some welcome "elbow room".

Gary DeWitt, director of slot operations for the Horseshoe, has announced the addition of four new banks of progressive slot machines to the mix, boosting the property's inventory to 2,000 machines.

"On the Diamond Level of the vessel we've introduced a bank of seven 2-coin 'Triple Star' dollar machines and another bank of eight 3-coin 'Double Gold' quarter machines," DeWitt said. "On the Ruby Level we've added a bank of eight 3-coin 'White Ice' quarter machines and a bank of nine 3-coin 'Five Star' quarter machines.

"Each bank of machines is linked to its own progressive jackpot. They are housed in IGT's state-of-the-art S2000 cabinets, which means each unit is equipped with 'ticket-in/ticket-out' technology to increase our ability to better serve our guests."

Progressives are appealing to many slot players looking for something extra when they hit a jackpot. Horseshoe is already home to two of the most popular progressives in this region, the "Who Wants to be a Binionaire" 3-coin dollar and 3-coin fifty-cent banks. The dollar Binionaire is seeded with $150,000 while its fifty-cent counterpart starts at $75,000.

The increased gaming space was made available when operations, marine and construction teams received authorization to remove the vessel's flume tanks which were rendered meaningless when dockside gambling was legalized last year. In addition, some of the service areas that were previously housed on-board were relocated in the pavilion.

There's also some exciting news forthcoming regarding an expansion of the already exemplary food and beverage operation at the Horseshoe.

The slot product upgrade at the Hammond Indiana property is part of Horseshoe's system-wide plan to refresh slot inventories at all of its destinations. The corporation also owns and operates casino-hotels in Tunica, Mississippi and Bossier City, Louisiana. Pending regulatory approval, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. will take over ownership of the Horseshoe properties, including Hammond, sometime during the first quarter of next year.

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