In Indiana, gamblers at the Ameristar East Chicago will reportedly soon be able to enjoy high-limit games on dry land after operator Pinnacle Entertainment Incorporated received official approval to relocate all of the riverboat casino’s high-stakes slots and gaming tables into a dockside pavilion.
According to a report from The Times of Northwest Indiana newspaper, Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment Incorporated won unanimous consent for its proposal from the Indiana Gaming Commission on Thursday and now plans to spend $5.8 million to renovate a space that currently houses the Lake Michigan floating casino’s restaurants so as to accommodate its new land-based offerings.
Matt Schuffert, Vice-President and General Manager for the Ameristar East Chicago, reportedly told the newspaper, “By relocating high-limit slots and [gaming] tables off of the boat onto land, that frees up space and we’ll add additional gaming product to that.”
The Times of Northwest Indiana reported that the approval means that the Ameristar East Chicago has become the state’s second gambling venue after the Tropicana Evansville from Las Vegas-based Tropicana Entertainment Incorporated to take advantage of a 2015 law that allows permanently-moored riverboat casinos to move their games onto adjacent dry land.
Owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties Incorporated, the casino in Lake County now purportedly intends to inaugurate its new dockside pavilion in mid-April complete with 95 high-limit slots as well as 14 comparable gaming tables. The newspaper reported that this area will moreover feature a dedicated cage along with a rewards center, toilets and food and beverage facilities while the vacated space on the boat’s main level is to be filled with around 100 extra gaming positions for players that prefer to wager lower amounts.
The newspaper reported that the Ameristar East Chicago currently offers more than 1,700 slots along with some 70 gaming tables with Schuffert purportedly revealing that the relocation scheme has already been endorsed by the nine-member East Chicago Plan Commission. He explained that Pinnacle Entertainment Incorporated is now seeking an expedited planning review from officials in Indianapolis so that it can begin construction as soon as next month or early-January.
“This is an initial step to see how our guests react to it,” Schuffert reportedly told The Times of Northwest Indiana. “”Obviously to bring the entire facility on land is a pretty large investment. It’s still a very tough [and] competitive environment up in Chicagoland with Indiana also battling the video gaming terminals over in Illinois. So, we think this is the right decision [and] the right capital investment for our property at this time.”