Why Grand Victoria Casino is cutting back dining hours at 2 restaurants

Under new ownership as it grapples with declining earnings, Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin has cut back on its buffet and burger joint hours.

The Indulge Show Kitchen Buffet is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and Prime BurgerHouse is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays, though the Prime BurgerHouse bar is open 4 p.m. to midnight on those days. The changes were implemented Oct. 1, casino spokeswoman Marilou Pilman said.

"We conducted a competitive analysis and found that most of the casinos in our market close their restaurants on Mondays and Tuesdays," Pilman said. The changes were made "in an effort to align our restaurant hours with the property's day-to-day business levels," she said.

The buffet at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines is open seven days a week. The buffets at Hollywood Casino in Joliet and Hollywood Casino in Aurora are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The buffet at Harrah's Casino in Joliet is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Grand Victoria Casino's dining options also include Buckinghams Steakhouse & Lounge, closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and the 24-hour Crave Deli.

The Elgin casino is owned by Eldorado Resorts, which finalized a $327.5 million acquisition in August. At that time, Gary Carano, chairman and CEO of Eldorado, said in a news release, "We intend to quickly implement our proven integration and operating strategies, allowing us to increase margins and cash flow from the property."

Carano also said, "Our immediate focus is on further enhancing the guest experience and operating results as there is no need to undertake capital investments at the property beyond normal maintenance expenses."

Mayor David Kaptain said Wednesday he hadn't been aware of the dining changes at Grand Victoria Casino.

"I think it's just a matter of new owners come in and they reposition the business," he said. "I don't think one way or another it's a good thing or a bad thing. It's their decision."

Grand Victoria Casino earned $121.8 million from January through September, a 6.7 percent decrease compared to the same time period last year, Illinois Gaming Board data shows.

Rivers Casino was the only one among the state's 10 casinos that increased revenues this year compared to last, data shows.

Gambling revenues across the state hit a peak in 2007 when they totaled more than $1.9 billion, with $718 million collected in state taxes and nearly $116 million going to local communities. Revenues have been steadily declining since, with the exception of a bump in 2012 after the opening of Rivers Casino, the data shows.

Kaptain also said he was glad to find out the casino will continue co-sponsoring the Fourth of July fireworks show, which casino spokeswoman Pilman confirmed Wednesday.

City staff members had proposed adding the $30,000 fireworks expense to the city's 2019 budget because of uncertainty about whether the new casino owners would continue the partnership established four years ago. The city contributes about $30,000 worth of services such as police and public works.

Jennifer Fukala, executive director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin, said she's hopeful the casino "is going to be invigorating their programs and engaging with the community."

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