Evansville casino to be first riverboat to move on land

The first of Indiana’s riverboat casinos is now moving onshore.

The owner of Evansville's casino now has state permission to move from its current riverboat docked along the Ohio River to a new $50 million land-based facility.

Indiana Gaming Commission members voted unanimously Wednesday to approve plans for the new Tropicana Evansville casino.

The new casino will be the first under a state law enacted last year allowing riverboats to build new casinos on land near their current locations. The state already has three other land-based casinos—in Shelbyville, Anderson and French Lick.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports that Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says Tropicana's move will be a boost for the city.

Tropicana announced plans in November for building the new single-level, 75,000-square-foot casino between its existing hotels across the street from the current riverboat. Tropicana officials expect construction to start this fall and finish by late 2017.

The Evansville casino—then called Casino Aztar—opened in 1995 as the state’s first legal gambling operation. The current boat has roughly 47,000 square feet of public space and will hold 2,700 passengers. The complex also includes two hotels and a conference center.

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