Ameristar Casino East Chicago opens revamped gaming area
Ameristar Casino East Chicago officially concluded the expansion of its pavilion gaming area last Friday.
At the event, the gaming venue’s officials cut the ribbons on the project, which added over 90 new slot machines to the casino. These new gambling machines are the most up-to-date in gaming technology and feature several popular themes.
The new slot machines, which include a new Jackpot Carnival version, were first played by VIP Ameristar punters on Friday. The Jackpot Carnival game is notably only available at the East Chicago casino in Northwest Indiana through mid-March.
Ameristar Casino opened its new gaming area to players aged 21 and more by 5pm on Friday. The new machine features games from the popular Buffalo series, Lightning Link, Timber Wolf, Lock It Link, Dancing Drums, and Power of 88, as well as several panda-themed games and other titles. Drawn by the flashing LED lights, sharp graphics, bright gaming displays, and realistic sound effects of the new slot machines, players trooped in to try their hand.
The Vice President and general manager of Ameristar East Chicago, Ryan Coppola, revealed that he was excited about the new additions and commended his team for going a great job putting it together.
Prior to the expansion, Ameristar’s buffet restaurant serving line and dining room occupied the area for the new slots. To give guests the best experience, Ameristar has remodeled many of its pavilion areas into gaming spaces for the past two years. As such, around 40% of the current gaming inventory is based in the previously near-empty pavilion. The pavilion was also primarily used to connect the casino’s parking garage and hotel to Amerister’s permanently moored riverboat located on Lake Michigan.
Coppola revealed that the changes were mostly done to broaden the casino’s unique offerings as well as facilitate convenience and access for customers.
“There’s a lot of different ways we can think about using space differently and being smart about it. This is really about how do we continue to think about unique offerings, access, convenience, bringing things closer to the front door,” he said.
“(Guests) love the access, they love the convenience, and they’re telling us with their foot traffic. Foot traffic is up, time on device is up, the gaming revenue is up, so they seem to like it pretty well.”
“Every time we’ve launched a new offering, the return on investment has been so strong we just start working on the next idea.”
Customers are certainly enjoying the convenience and access that the repurposing affords as the free connected parking garage is merely a few steps from gaming activities like playing a table game, using a brand new slot machine, placing bets at the Barstool Sportsbook or eating at one of the many restaurants.
The Ameristar Vice President revealed that the casino might be considering using the available space and facilities at the 777 Aldis Ave. property for an entirely land-based gaming venue. The casino has updated its exterior signage already and placed a huge video display atop its porte-cochère.
Coppola continued, “The boat has a lot of great product on it as well. But we’re going to keep moving inland as much as we can. And we’ll see long-term how that plays out for having the boat, or if we can get fully land-based.”
Besides the new gaming space, players can now use contactless and cashless technology when playing on the new slot machines. Coppola revealed that Ameristar guests need only to download the casino’s MyChoice app on their phones, after which funds transferred to the app from their bank will attract no extra fees. To “insert” money into the game, players will have to input a few instructions and hold their mobile devices to the machines.
The casino operations technical manager of Ameristar, Daniel Kuipers, stated that after the machine is funded, it plays like it normally would if an actual dollar bill or ticket was inserted.
“It plays like normal. Once it’s funded into there it’s cash in the game. It’s just like you put a dollar bill in there or a ticket in there,” Kuipers said
Players have the option of receiving their winnings via their app or a traditional cash-out ticket. The new slot machines also have wireless charging stations, so they need not worry about their mobile devices dying.
According to Coppola, the tool has grown in popularity faster than expected among Ameristar customers. Ameristar is currently one of the top five gaming venues on Penn Entertainment’s list of casinos with significant use of the new technology. Penn Entertainment is the casino’s parent company.
The Ameristar East Chicago said, “Once they see it, it’s kind of like a no-brainer. It works fantastic. Your app is your loyalty card.”