Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa in Michigan City, Ind. celebrates 20 years as a Boyd Gaming property, a milestone marked by exciting growth that has transformed a traditional riverboat casino into a regional entertainment destination.
Blue Chip guests commemorated the occasion in November with a 20th Anniversary Giveaway of $20,000.
Blue Chip debuted in 1997 as a riverboat casino moored at Trail Creek near Lake Michigan. The property was acquired two years later by Boyd Gaming, when Bill Boyd, Executive Chairman, and Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, envisioned Blue Chip’s bright future.
In 2006, Boyd Gaming invested $150 million in a new 65,000-square-foot gaming vessel. Blue Chip further diversified in 2009 with a $130 million investment that added Spa Blu Tower, a 22-story luxury hotel tower, a 10,000 square-foot full-service spa, salon and fitness center, new restaurants and shops, and the Stardust Event Center.
When sports betting was approved in Indiana in September, Blue Chip opened FanDuel Sportsbook with football hall of famer Brian Urlacher, garnering media attention and attracting hundreds of new Blue Chip customers.
In October, Blue Chip completed an $11 million expansion of its special events facility, adding the Fremont Ballroom for a total of 45,000-square-feet of rentable event space.
“With our 486 hotel rooms, dining and entertainment facilities, we remain successful in a very competitive Northwest Indiana market,” says Blue Chip Vice President and General Manager Brenda Temple.
“We’re creating a great experience for live entertainment, meetings, weddings, and other occasions, which allows us to introduce people from markets, such as Chicago, Grand Rapids and Indianapolis, to a modern casino entertainment and resort complex,” says Temple, who was previously Director of Finance at Blue Chip, returned in 2018 after five years in operations leadership at Boyd Gaming in Las Vegas.
Blue Chip’s expansion also has had a positive impact on Michigan City, which experienced a significant downturn with the recession. The city is undergoing a renaissance with a newly-revitalized, bustling downtown district, craft breweries, Lighthouse Place Outlet Mall, beautiful beaches and other lakefront attractions. The resurgence is due, in part, to Blue Chip’s community contributions of almost $1 million annually to the Michigan City Community Enrichment Fund, which provides funding to area nonprofit organizations, and to the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City, which spurs business enterprise growth in Michigan City.
Most important is the Blue Chip team, says Temple. Nearly 120 of the roughly 1,000 team members at the property have been on board for 20 years or more. Blue Chip regularly wins numerous awards from the community, media and guests each year. This year, William B’s Steakhouse at Blue Chip earned a 2019 Trip Advisor Hall of Fame Award and Certificate of Excellence, and a 2019 Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. Blue Chip was also voted “Best Overall Gaming Resort,” “Best Hotel,” and “Best Spa” in the 2019 Best of Gaming in Chicagoland poll by readers of Casino Player Magazine.