Casino license could hang on semantics

December 17, 2007
Columbia Sussex Corp.'s ability to renew its license to operate the Casino Aztar riverboat in Evansville could hinge on a couple of words and their definitions, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

Evansville Mayor Jonathon Weinzapfel says the Indiana Gaming Commission should yank the license held by the Fort Mitchell, Ky., company because New Jersey regulators earlier this month "revoked" its license to operate the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City.

Indiana gambling regulators cannot issue a license to Columbia Sussex because its license was revoked in another state, Weinzapfel contends.

However, another way to look at the New Jersey situation is that Columbia Sussex's license renewal was simply denied.

Columbia Sussex said last week that losing the New Jersey license could force it into bankruptcy.

The terms are likely to be considered in March when the Indiana Gaming Commission takes up a complaint Weinzapfel filed against Columbia Sussex.

Weinzapfel has asked the commission to investigate whether Columbia Sussex has kept a commitment to retain a certain number of Aztar workers. Nearly 100 workers have lost jobs since Columbia Sussex acquired the casino last year. The casino had about 1,200 employees.

Last month, game dealers and full-time supervisors voted to join the United Auto Workers Union.
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