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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Midwest Gamblers Make Their Voices Heard

6 August 2003

Midwest Gaming & Travel, a monthly magazine with a circulation of 50,000 and a seven-state primary coverage area, conducts an annual Readers’ Choice survey of the riverboat, land-based, and Native American casinos in the Midwest.

This year’s survey questionnaire, which appeared in the March issue, asked readers to select their favorite casinos in a wide-ranging list of 27 gaming related and hospitality categories.

The June edition will includes survey results for the riverboat and land-based casinos in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri. The July edition features survey results from Native American casinos in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota.

If you’re planning any vacations in the Midwest this summer and are inclined to include casino gambling as part of your entertainment options, I suggest you pick up copies of the magazine. You’ll have some revealing insight into how guests rate the gambling, dining, hotel, entertainment, and customer service at the various properties.

For information or a subscription to Midwest Gaming & Travel magazine call 507-835-1662 or visit www.midwestgamingandtravel.com.

Of the 27 different “favorite” categories, I circled six of them as the most important for average recreational gaming enthusiasts in the Chicago-area who patronize casinos in the vicinity not as tourists but as part of their regular leisure time entertainment.

Those categories include: Favorite Casino, Best Buffet, Best Selection of Slots, Best Selection of Tables Games, Best Video Poker, and Best Player’s Club.

In the 2002 Readers’ Choice survey, the all-important Favorite Casino accolade in Illinois went to Harrah’s Joliet Casino &anp Hotel, but this year that honor goes to Hollywood Casino Aurora.

As a matter of fact, Hollywood swept three of the six categories I target as most important. In addition to Favorite Casino, it was voted by Midwest Gaming & Travel survey participants as having the Best Selection of Slots as well as the Favorite Casino Buffet Restaurant (The Epic Buffet).

Harrah’s Joliet did take top honors for having the Best Player’s Club (Total Rewards) while Argosy’s Empress Casino & Hotel Joliet won in the Best Video Poker bracket. The Casino Queen in downstate East St. Louis was voted tops in the Best Selection of Table Games category.

Overall, the Casino Queen led Illinois by finishing first in eight categories (including four awards for its Crown Hotel), followed by Hollywood with seven, Harrah’s Joliet with six, Empress Joliet with five, and Jumer’s Casino in Rock Island with two.

Interestingly enough, the Grand Victoria in Elgin, the state’s top grossing riverboat casino destination, wasn’t the top vote getter in any of the 27 categories.

Since the casino options for a majority of people in the Chicago-area include Northwest Indiana, you should know that the Majestic Star Casino in Gary and Harrah’s East Chicago Hotel & Casino each plucked two of my six target categories.

The Majestic Star was voted Best Video Poker and Best Selection of Table Games, while Harrah’s East Chicago snared Best Player’s Club (Total Rewards) and Favorite Casino Buffet Restaurant (Fresh Market Square).

My remaining Top Six awards went to the Argosy Casino & Hotel in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, for Favorite Casino and Best Selection of Slots.

Overall, the Argosy led all Indiana casinos which received votes in the survey with six first place categories. Tied with five apiece were Caesar’s Riverboat Casino in Elizabeth, Jack Binion’s Horseshoe Casino Hammond, and the Majestic Star Casino in Gary. Harrah’s East Chicago and the Belterra Casino Resort in Belterra, tied with three each.

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