Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa marked its 20th anniversary this year, and while the celebration featured giveaways and entertainment for guests, it also included recognition of Blue Chip’s team members and the casino’s contributions to Michigan City, Indiana and the surrounding communities.
“As we celebrate this landmark anniversary in the history of Blue Chip, I can tell you first hand that it is the dedication of people, our team members, who bring the property to life,” said Ted Bogich, executive vice president of operations for Boyd Gaming. Bogich previously was vice President and General Manager of Blue Chip in 1999, when Boyd Gaming bought the property.
Blue Chip was honored by the LaPorte County Board of Commissioners in August for its contributions to the local economy, but also for its generosity as a corporate citizen, a local paper, the Herald Argus, noted. Blue Chip, as part of an agreement, has donated more than $33.5 million to Michigan City since 2001, more than $12 million to the Michigan City Community Enrichment Fund and $3.2 million to the Economic Development Fund. Blue Chip’s team members personally support the community as well, donating $67,000 to United Way of LaPorte County last year.
“It’s exciting that Blue Chip has been here for 20 years now,” said Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer. He noted that Michigan City’s partnership with Blue Chip has benefitted many city departments, enabling the purchase of public safety vehicles and helping to fund the building of Michigan City’s new police station.
“Blue Chip has contributed so positively to the community over the last 20 years,” said Michigan City Chamber of Commerce President Mary Jo Orlowski. “They have helped with the infrastructure in the city and the community in terms of giving back for different projects. They contribute to so many nonprofits and other organizations to such a high degree that some of the programs, I don’t think, could be viable without their support.”
“The people that work at Blue Chip and the staff that they have is a top-down staff that is led with openness and integrity, and they really care about the people that work for them,” Orlowski said. “Boyd (Gaming) should be proud that they represent their company and that casino so well. They have the highest integrity, they are fair, they’re easy to work with, and they’re inclusive. That’s really what differentiates them - they have such a powerful, caring team.”
Blue Chip Casino, the only Indiana casino boat to be built on site, launched August 22, 1997. A third deck was added to the boat in 1998. In 1999, Blue Chip was acquired by Boyd Gaming Corporation. The Blue Chip Hotel was added to the property in 2000 and another third deck expansion in 2002 brought the casino space to 42,500 square feet. In 2006, the new Blue Chip vessel launched, featuring a 65,000-square-foot single-level casino.
In early 2009, Blue Chip expanded again to become Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa. The $130 million project included Spa Blu Tower, the 22-story, 302-room upscale hotel designed by Chicago Architect Lucien Lagrange, a spa and fitness center as well as the Stardust Event Center, a 20,000-square-foot entertainment, meetings and special event space. Two restaurants and nightlife venues were also added, including It’s Vegas Baby! and The Game.
“Over the last 20 years, our ongoing investments in Blue Chip’s gaming, dining, entertainment and hospitality offerings have firmly established Blue Chip as the region’s leading gaming entertainment destination,” said Bogich. “We look forward to continued success in the years to come, as we welcome guests from Indianapolis, Chicago, southwestern Michigan and beyond to Michigan City, our home and our partner community for two decades.”