Entertainer Bette Midler headlined the grand opening of the extensively renovated Horseshoe Casino Chicagoland in Hammond, Indiana. She played the USD 70 million Venue, a 90,000-square-foot entertainment facility built as “another dimension to why people choose to come to” the USD 500 million complex, says Rick Mazer, regional president and general manager for Horseshoe.
Owned by Harrah’s Entertainment of Las Vegas, the 350,000 square-foot Horseshoe riverboat is three times the size of the one it replaces. It houses 3,200 slot machines that take from two cents to USD 1,000, Asian-themed and high-limit areas for table games, and a poker room with 34 tables. A buffet seats 650.
For performances, the Venue seats 2,500 (the seats retract for 3,300 standees), and it can handle banquets for 1,500. It has a three-level lobby and six VIP suites, and can be set up for boxing matches.
Horseshoe will be drawing older and younger audiences with acts ranging from the Smashing Pumpkins musical group to singer Liza Minnelli. Most tickets, priced on either side of USD 100, will be for preferred customers, „one of the advantages of gambling at our casino as opposed to going anywhere else,“ Mazer says.
Horseshoe may grow the northern Indiana casino entertainment market, or may cannibalize it, at least temporarily. It’s putting plenty into its attractions; Mazer says the tab for Midler’s August 8 post-concert parties alonewas USD 1 million.