Last Thursday, the Indiana Gaming Commission agreed to move floating Ameristar Casino’s high-stakes slots and gaming tables onshore. The shift is expected to provide more stability to the gambling industry. The casino, which is anchored on Lake Michigan is to relocate its high limit slot machines and table games to a portion of its dockside pavilion, which is located in a close proximity to Ameristar’s permanent riverboat gambling venue. Ameristar Casino’s gambling operator Pinnacle Entertainment Incorporated is to invest $5.8 million in updating its dockside pavilion, which is currently hosting restaurants.
Last week, the members of the Indiana Gaming Commission voted in favor of Ameristar Casino’s proposal to shift its high-limit slots and table games on land. In an interview with Times of Northwest Indiana, Ameristar vice president and general manager Matt Schuffert commented that the change is to create up to 10 new permanent job opportunities and a number of temporary construction worker jobs. He unveiled that 14 table games and 95 slot machines will be moved to its pavilion area and these are to occupy 15,000 square feet of the space.
The space, which is to host Ameristar’s high-limit gaming options is currently occupied by a burger restaurant, but not for long as it is moving to another area of the pavilion. Mr. Schuffert added that the reconstruction of the dockside pavilion is planned to begin in January next year. The gaming area is to feature non-gambling amenities such as bars and restaurants. If everything goes according to schedule, the project will be completed sometime in April.
Mr. Schuffert shared that players can expect around 100 new gaming products on the vessel as lots of space will be vacated after the planned relocation of the casino’s high-roller area. This is a pivotal moment in the industry’s history, as Ameristar Casino is the first Northwest Indiana’s casino boat to relocate part of its gambling area to the nearby dock.
Indiana’s Floating Casinos Allowed to Land Onshore
In 2015, Indiana adopted a new law, that allows riverboat casinos to relocate their gaming operation to land supposing that they receive the needed approval. Tropicana’s Casino Aztar in southern Indiana hurried to relocate its gaming operations onshore. The casino’s operator invested approximately $50 million in shifting all of its gaming operations on land. The casino celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony on 20th October 2016.
The relocation of the floating casinos is expected to give a strong push forward to the gaming industry in the state and attract more out-of-the-state players. The presence of land-based casinos goes hand-in-hand with a number of economic benefits, including additional wealth into the local economy and increased tourism sector.