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Blue Chip Casino Opens

23 September 1997

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind -- Data released by the Indiana Gaming Commission shows Blue Chip Casino proved to be a strong attraction in its opening days, according to Kevin Flynn, chairman and CEO of Blue Chip Casino.

"We're off to a great start," Flynn commented.

Blue Chip Casino attracted more than 124,000 guests during its first days of operations, according to official data released by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

"This represents one of the most successful openings of a casino in Indiana," said Flynn. "We believe that this information strongly demonstrates that Blue Chip Casino is in fact expanding the gaming entertainment market into Michigan and northeast Indiana.

"We have always been confident that we have a strong entertainment operation here and the figures confirm it," Flynn continued. "This makes us even more confident about the long-term success of Blue Chip Casino."

Kevin Larson, president and COO of Blue Chip Casino, said that he was "very gratified" to see the official figures. "This casino has been on a fast track ever since we broke ground nearly a year ago," Larson said. "We have an excellent entertainment product, a corporate focus on delighting our customers and a dedicated work force. These all combine to produce a winning operation."

The attendance figures squared with Blue Chip's marketing focus, Larson continued. "Our initial research shows that we're attracting guests from our core markets in northern Indiana and southern Michigan," he said. "This indicates that we're on the right track for our long-term success."

"This is a very strong start," explained Sharon Wheeler, Blue Chip's director of marketing, whose professional gaming career includes more than a decade of research and marketing experience with casinos in Las Vegas, Iowa, Mississippi and Louisiana. "In my opinion the strongest case for our continued growth and success lies in the fact that we have a superior customer focus."

Nancy Wegner, a Blue Chip guest from Edwardsburg, Mich., remarked that the Michigan City casino offers superior customer service. "They are very pleasant people and they have the best valet parking," she said.

Gaming experts have cited the casino's wide aisles, superior ventilation system and other amenities as being appealing to gaming customers. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, "The most striking feature (of Blue Chip Casino) was the comfort level of the boat."

Columnist John Grochowski continued: "Passengers board into a large foyer with only a few banks of slots and a bar in the back. There's plenty of room to spread out into the gaming rooms on either side of the entryway, or to head downstairs to the second deck of gaming. The gaming areas feature wide aisles between rows of slots and video poker games. No sideways shuffle is needed to get from one machine to another here."

As another example of the focus on guest comfort, the Blue Chip Buffet opened in the casino guest pavilion Sept. 13.

"The Blue Chip Buffet is not your ordinary buffet experience, but rather more of a true restaurant experience," said Christ Nogulich, Blue Chip Casino's director of food and beverage. "The buffet, with its large windows overlooking the Blue Chip vessel and the neighboring marina, was designed to be the best buffet in the Midwest. We wanted to create a place where guests could enjoy a variety of excellent foods served in a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere."

Quoting the casino's advertising campaign, Flynn concluded: "Our initial success is just the beginning. We're excited to create `magic moments' for the many thousands of Blue Chip guests in the months and years to come."

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