Hoosiers’ long ride on the gambling gravy train finally may be coming to an end.
Cash-strapped gambling firm pushing bill in Legislature; Centaur trying to recover from Pennsylvania setback
Centaur is lobbying the Indiana General Assembly to let it transfer 500 slots from its Hoosier Park horse track in Anderson
to the Fort Wayne area.
Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is building his campaign for re-election in part on another attempt to cash in a jackpot on the Hoosier Lottery. This time, he’s hedging his bet. In case leasing the Hoosier Lottery outright to a private operator is politically impossible, Daniels is exploring a major bond issue backed by its future revenue.
The next few weeks will be critical for the state’s two new racinos, which need to open with a splash to meet their ambitious
projections of drawing more than 3 million visitors apiece annually. Hoosier Park in Anderson will open June 2, and Indiana
Downs in Shelbyville will follow a week later.
Through persistence and sheer pluck, Rod Ratcliff has become a player in the gambling industry–one many businesses try to
break into, most without success. On Oct. 30, his Indianapolis-based company, Centaur Inc., closed a $1 billion financing
deal that will fund gambling projects in three states.
The kickoff of the National Football League season this month has many central Indiana employers fearful that fantasy will
encroach on reality. The fretfulness revolves around the start of the fantasy football season, where fans draft real players
onto make-believe teams and track their individual performances via organized Web sites.
Indiana’s two horse tracks could change hands as investors race to come up with the $250 million required to add thousands
of slot machines. The steep cost of a state license combined with the potential of a lucrative payoff has stakeholders in
Shelbyville-based Indiana Downs and Anderson-based Hoosier Park jockeying for position.
During their first half-decade in operation, the state's casino slots machines grew their total sales to $22 billion,
according to Indiana Gaming Commission records. But in the last five years, slot sales grew just 18 percent, reaching $25.9
billion in 2006. That's what business textbooks call a maturing market.
French Lick Resorts & Casino is already struggling, less than four months after its launch. And the casino’s owners are downright
terrified legislators soon will allow both of the state’s horse-racing tracks to become “racinos” and add up to 5,000 slot
To shore up local government’s enormous financial shortfalls, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has begun investigating whether it wants to push for a downtown casino–a politically explosive idea that would face widespread opposition.