Issue 239
April 11 - April 17, 2005
Volume 5
page 3
 

New Blue Chip Casino a Gem for Michigan City
By John G. Brokopp

The ongoing $150 million construction project by Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming that will bring the nation's newest concept in riverboat gambling to Michigan City, Indiana, is destined to create a giant footprint in the greater Northwest Indiana gaming market.

The present Blue Chip Casino & Hotel gaming vessel, which opened in 1997, is not unlike any of the other riverboat casinos in the market. The new vessel, which is scheduled to open sometime during the fourth quarter of this year, will create a gambling atmosphere that Northwest Indiana casino goers have never experienced.

Judy Campbell, the Blue Chip's vice president and general manager, has revealed the new vessel will be 400 feet long and 200 feet wide as opposed to the 380 feet long and 80 feet wide dimensions of the old vessel.

"It's a much wider vessel than the one we have today," Campbell noted. "We conduct business on three different levels on the present boat. With the new vessel we'll have the ability and the opportunity to open with one level of gaming. It is designed as a multi-level, certified Coast Guard vessel, but when we open with gaming on one level we'll still increase the square footage by over 20,000 square feet. There'll be room for expansion as business dictates."

Even though the Blue Chip is being constructed as a riverboat, its size and magnitude will create a playing environment that guests are going to enjoy. It'll be the only riverboat casino in Northwest Indiana that will feature gaming across such a broad single level expanse, which will give it a land-based Las Vegas feel.

In essence, what Boyd Gaming is accomplishing with this development is eliminating the one aspect of riverboat gambling that guests complain about most: Cramped quarters, low ceilings, poor air quality and the inconvenience of having to use staircases, escalators and elevators to access gaming areas.

"A lot of this is about environment," Campbell said. "It's about giving our customer a comfortable place to play. The ceilings will be as high as 20 feet and there will be plenty of room chair-back to chair-back. There'll be wide aisles through which people can walk through the casino."

Because of the priority on comfort that the company is placing on the project, the floor plan for gaming positions has not yet been finalized.

In addition to the new gaming vessel, the project also includes a new 950-space parking garage, which will open in July, as well as some improvements to the dining options.

"We are going to completely enhance and upgrade our Blue Chip Buffet," Campbell said. "The line will almost triple in size and we'll add 100 seats to the dining area. We're also going to enhance our fine dining option, The Grille on Easy Street, by relocating it across the hall from where it stands today. We'll also increase the seating in the Grille by about 30 and improve the product offering."

The Blue Chip is unique in the Northwest Indiana gaming market in that it exists in a traditional resort town. It features a beautiful hotel with first class amenities on property and has been a welcome addition to the region and the markets it reaches.

"We actually attract customers from a five-state area," revealed Sara Ellis, the Blue Chip's director of marketing. "The majority of our guests come from Northwest Indiana and the Michigan area. We exist in a high tourist area so we do get a lot of visitors from Chicago who come out here for vacations."

And just in case you were wondering what will happen to the old Blue Chip Casino gaming vessel, Ms. Campbell hinted that you may see it "reincarnated".

"We have prepared a spot for the old vessel behind the new vessel," she said. "It will be pulled back to an area behind the hotel, just south of where it is today. We are looking for useful opportunities for it at this time."

You can keep posted on the construction progress and other Blue Chip news by logging to www.bluechip-casino.com or calling 1-888-624-9618 for more information.

About the Author

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in 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.

John's Books

Insider's Guide to Internet Gambling
Insider's Guide to Internet Gambling offers a concise and to-the-point directory for anyone who gambles on the Internet or is interested in gambling on the Internet. It reduces the risk factor on a stretch of the Information Superhighway that's fraught with danger and caution signs. In addition to a thorough analysis of online casinos, the book includes an in-depth section dealing with thoroughbred horse race handicapping on the Internet and the new wealth of resources and information that's available to people who follow the sport and wager on races. The author gives an honest and realistic appraisal of gambling on the Internet while offering no "get rich quick" schemes or time-consuming methods to win by "nickel and diming" the various sites. The only way to match wits with Internet casinos is to be the most educated and alert player you can possibly be. This book tells you how.

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