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Slots of Fun in Illinois and Indiana

26 February 2003

Illinois or Indiana? It's a question many Chicago-area casino gambling enthusiasts face every time they plan an outing. Casino options in both states are equally accessible for a majority of residents, but as we discovered last week, there are some differences in the two jurisdictions that can have an impact on where people ultimately decide to go.

Current legislation prohibits Illinois casino license holders from exceeding 1,200 gaming positions. In Indiana there is no such restriction. This paves the way for casino destinations in the Hoosier State to offer a greater number and a wider variety of table games. Today we're going to take a look at the demographic facts that slot players must take into consideration.

Just as we did last week, the study covers the nine casinos within driving distance of the Chicago-area: Harrah's Joliet, Empress Joliet, Hollywood Aurora, and Elgin Grand Victoria in Illinois, and the Horseshoe Hammond, Harrah's East Chicago, the Blue Chip in Michigan City, and Gary's Trump and Majestic Star in Indiana.

The number of slots (electronic gaming devices) available on casino floors in the five northwest Indiana locations versus the four in Illinois underscores the difference: A total of 8,419 on the Indiana side as opposed to 4,476 in Illinois.

The casino-by-casino breakdown in Indiana is topped by Harrah's East Chicago with 2,005 machines, followed by Trump (1,794), Horseshoe (1,569), Majestic Star (1,546), and Blue Chip (1,505). The slot inventories dwarf those available in Illinois: Harrah's Joliet (1,138), Empress Joliet (1,133), Hollywood Aurora (1,105), and Grand Victoria (1,100).

Whereas the difference in numbers affects all slot denominations, it is most profound when it comes to nickel slots. There are 2,365 five-cent slots on casino floors in northwest Indiana, while there are just 747 of them at Chicago-area casinos in Illinois.

The nickel slot king in Indiana is Harrah's East Chicago with 763 units, followed by Trump with 638, Majestic Star (523), Blue Chip (280), and Horseshoe (161). In Illinois the nickel champ is Hollywood Aurora with just 275, followed by Empress Joliet (258), and Harrah's Joliet (214). At the present time the Grand Victoria in Elgin doesn't have any nickel units in its slot inventory.

If you like ten-cent slots, the only casino in Illinois that offers them is Harrah's Joliet (135 units). On the Indiana side, every location with the exception of the Horseshoe has the dime variety.

The Horseshoe is the area leader in fifty-cent, dollar, and five-dollar slots. Its 160 half-dollar machines far exceeds the 82 machines at distant runner-up Blue Chip. There are 577 one-dollar slots at the Horseshoe, 99 more than runner-up Harrah's East Chicago. It also has 116 five-dollar slots, more than twice as many as Harrah's and even more than the 91 five-buck slots at the Grand Victoria in Elgin.

CASINO NEWS: William Buegel, an 81-year-old retired City of Chicago employee, won the $250,040 Caribbean Stud Poker progressive jackpot at Jack Binion's Horseshoe Casino Hammond on November 13, 2002. The jackpot had been growing for more than seven months. "When I looked at my hand, I was dumbfounded," Buegel said about being dealt the royal flush. "Horseshoe is so close to our home. It's only about 15 minutes. It's relaxing to go to the Horseshoe."

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