After a strong start to the year, area casinos had a slight drop in gaming revenue in March as compared to a year ago.
The Lake Michigan-based casinos had a gaming win of about $89.6 million in March, down about 1.4 percent from March 2015 revenues of $90.9 million.
“After two consecutive months of growth, unfortunately March was a little softer,” Horseshoe Hammond Senior Vice President and General Manager Dan Nita said.
March’s results were impacted in part by the calendar, including one less Sunday than in 2015, and the Easter holiday, which was in April last year, Nita said.
Performance varied among the casinos, with revenue at Ameristar in East Chicago growing 7 percent year over year to $21.6 million. Majestic Star’s two Gary casinos also grew revenue, by 1.6 percent to $14.9 million.
Hammond’s Horseshoe took the bulk of the decline, down 7 percent to $38.6 million. Blue Chip in Michigan City was off only slightly, about one-third of one percent to $14.4 million.
Nita attributed the differences at Horseshoe at least in part to “share shifting” based on the success of a special program to attract visitors. And, the casino’s table game players were more successful this year than last, he said.
Attendance at the five casinos this March was 895,533 down from last March’s 956,474. The casinos paid a total of $31,423,401 in gaming and admissions taxes in March.