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Indiana casino boats lag behind

25 September 2007

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- As reported by the Northwest Times: "The riches forecast for Gary when Don Barden bought Trump Casino two years ago have yet to sail into Buffington Harbor.

"Instead, Barden's two Majestic Star Casinos sunk lower at a time when competitors in East Chicago, Hammond and Michigan City were raking in more cash and floating expansion plans.

"Barden, a Detroit business mogul whose interests include casinos in Colorado, Mississippi and Las Vegas, recently reiterated his desire to reinvest in Gary. But he has yet to deliver the 300-room hotel and entertainment center promised when his $253 million acquisition of Trump Casino closed in late 2005.

"The delay has fueled political squabbles in the Steel City, with Gary Councilman Roy Pratt leading an unsuccessful campaign to commandeer one of Barden's casino permits. The Indiana Gaming Commission renewed both licenses in June, and it was unmoved by a revocation plea Pratt made at a hearing earlier this month.

"...Combined gaming revenues for the two Gary riverboats have declined 14 percent since Barden bought out Trump. The two casinos generated $70.6 million in admission and wagering taxes in the state fiscal year that ended in June, down from $80.7 million two years earlier.

"At the same time, Horseshoe Casino, which is building a new $485 million casino in Hammond, increased revenues by 9 percent, paying $152.9 million in gaming taxes last year. And Blue Chip Casino saw even stronger gains after cutting the ribbon on a new $170 million Michigan City riverboat last year..."

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