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Blue Chip Casino Opens Its Doors to the Public

27 August 1997

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- The Indiana Gaming Commission issued Blue Chip Casino its license to begin operations and the casino formally opened on Friday, August 22, according to Kevin Flynn, chairman and CEO for Blue Chip Casino Inc.

"This is an incredibly exciting moment for us and the Michigan City region," Flynn said. "Many people, including our supporters in the Michigan City community, have worked many long hours to reach this point."

The 32-acre casino complex broke ground in October 1996 and its $120 million permanent facility was ready for operations in less than 10 months, an Indiana casino construction record.

"The city of Michigan City is proud to have been an integral part of the effort to open Blue Chip Casino in record time," said Michigan City Mayor Sheila Brillson. "It is a beautiful development, and another attractive reason to come to this great community to spend your leisure time. With our beautiful marina and lakefront, wonderful restaurants and top-notch shopping, Blue Chip Casino adds an entertainment dimension that we know will be successful."

"Possibly the strongest operating point of the casino is the fact that they are developing a true destination facility," said Linda Bell, executive director of the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We already have more than two million visitors annually to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Lighthouse Place, and the addition of an entertainment-focused casino can only strengthen our existing successful tourist attractions in the Northern Indiana Harbor Country," Bell added.

Blue Chip's focus on guest relations is also reflected in the design of the gaming vessel. The Blue Chip Casino was designed with only two decks (as opposed to multiple decks), enabling guests to move around without climbing extra stairs and for the casino areas to be spacious and guest friendly.

One reason why Blue Chip was able to design the vessel with the guest in mind is the fact that it is the only Indiana gaming vessel to be constructed on site. The vessel is 348 feet long and can carry 2,250 guests and 500 crew members.

"By constructing the vessel onsite, not only were we able to use steel and other materials from Indiana vendors, but we were able to be directly involved, keeping our goal of guest comfort top of mind," said Captain Lisa Streckfus, who as director of marine operations and property support for Blue Chip Casino Inc. oversaw the entire construction of the vessel. "In addition, we have a wonderful and knowledgeable marine crew, who when you combine them have more that 100 years experience."

The Blue Chip Guest Pavilion adds to the casino's destination focus with its more than 17,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, which includes a 5,400 square foot ballroom. The Pavilion will also house Brio, a fine dining Italian restaurant; the Blue Chip Buffet, which will seat more than 285 patrons, and the Ventura Lounge, which offers live entertainment. While Ventura lounge is now open, Brio and the buffet will be open in mid to late September.

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