The owner of two casinos now located on Lake Michigan in Gary would still be allowed to move one of them to a more convenient interstate location under changes to a gambling bill lawmakers made Tuesday—but only if the company gave its other license back to the state.
An Indiana casino CEO treated Gov. Eric Holcomb to two private jet flights last year and made big contributions to Holcomb’s largest 2016 campaign donor, all while he was pushing for changes to state law that would benefit his business, according to a newspaper report.
State lawmakers significantly amended a major gambling bill on Wednesday, removing language that would have allowed mobile sports betting and adding a huge relocation fee for the owner of the Gary’s casinos.
The House Public Policy Committee heard roughly five hours of testimony on Senate Bill 552—legislation that touches nearly every aspect of gambling in Indiana—during a hearing on Wednesday.
The legislation would legalize sports wagering, let horse-track casinos add table games this year as opposed to waiting until 2021 and allow two Gary casinos to move.
Spectacle Entertainment—a company founded by some of the same investors that operated Centaur before it was purchased by Caesars Entertainment—is in the process of buying Gary-based Majestic Star Casino I and Majestic Star Casino. It has said it wants to move one of the casinos to the Interstate 80/94 corridor and the other to Terre Haute.
Caesars owns four of Indiana’s highest-revenue casinos and any sale would need approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission and Indiana Horse Racing Commission.
One of Gary’s two casino licenses could be allowed to operate at any location in Indiana under new legislation. A previous bill limited the casino move to Vigo County.
Senate Bill 552, authored by Jasper Republican Mark Messmer and Terre Haute Republican Jon Ford, would allow the casinos in Gary to relocate, accelerate when horse-track casinos could begin offering live table games and legalize sports gambling.
The bill, filed by Republican Sens. Mark Messmer and Jon Ford, covers a wide range of gambling issues expected to be debated this year.
The Indiana General Assembly is likely to consider a proposal that would allow Gary’s two casino licenses to be relocated this year—one would stay in Gary, while the other could move to another city in the state.
IBJ reporter Lindsey Erdody talks with host Mason King about the sports gambling legislation that will be considered in the Indiana House and Senate this year, including the many details that could complicate passage.
The report commissioned by the Indiana Gaming Commission recommended that lawmakers take action during the 2019 session, saying the risks of delaying it “clearly outweigh the rewards.”
The company’s $1.7 billion purchase of Indianapolis-based Centaur Gaming and its Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand horse racing casinos was earlier approved by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
The Las Vegas-based casino company will soon own Indiana Grand in Shelbyville and Hoosier Park in Anderson, the state’s only two casinos with horse-racing tracks.
The deals approved Thursday change ownership at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Belterra Casino Resort in Switzerland County and Ameristar Casino in East Chicago.
The owner of two horse track casinos near Indianapolis is preparing to pay a $50 million state fee as part of its sale to casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can legalize sports betting. Indiana lawmakers will likely study the issue before their 2019 session.
Caesars sought approval for the plan despite threats to cancel the project if the state did not waive a $50 million fee tied to its acquisition of racinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.
Gov. Eric J. Holcomb on Friday named Indianapolis attorney Michael McMains to the position.