Ameristar to open $5.8M dockside casino in Northwest Indiana

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A rendering of Ameristar’s upcoming on-land casino for high-waging players (Gaming and Leisure Properties, www.glpropinc.com/)

The Indiana Gaming Commission has unanimously approved Ameristar Casinos proposal to relocate its high-limit slots and table games from the permanently docked Lake Michigan vessel to a portion of the adjacent dockside pavilion currently occupied by restaurants.

Ameristar’s plan calls for a $5.8 million dockside renovation. Slated for completion in mid-April 2018, the new land-based casino will offer 95 high-limit slots, 14 high-limit table games and exclusive high-limit amenities such as a casino cage, rewards center, restrooms, food and beverages.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Matt Schuffert, vice president and general manager of Ameristar. “It’s going to create a new gaming experience in Northwest Indiana that folks haven’t experienced yet.”

After construction, Ameristar will continue some gambling operations in Lake Michigan. An extra 100 gaming positions will be added on the main level for players who prefer to wager less.

“By relocating high-limit slots and tables off of the boat onto land, that frees us space, and we’ll add additional gaming product to that,” said Schuffert. Currently, the casino has more than 1,700 slot machines and 70 table games.

Ameristar is the first regional casino to move its operations from a moored casino boat to land adjacent to their docks.

For now, Schuffert said that it makes the most economic sense for Ameristar to move only a limited portion of its gaming positions on land. He added that the move is an “initial step” to see how gamers will react before they invest in moving the rest of the casino there.