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Indiana Casino Operator Caught Up in Political Scandal

The Indiana Gaming Commission is now looking in to Spectacle Entertainment, an operator of two riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan in Indiana, due to a recent scandal that came to light. A political consultant of Maryland has pled guilty to illegally moving funds from a casino company in Indiana to a lawmaker in the state who ran for Congress back in 2015.

Details of the Scandal

The company named as the casino operator who made the illegal contributions was identified in paperwork as Company A. the federal case was made in Virginia and the Indiana Gaming Commission stated last week that the involves Centaur Gaming executives.

The CEO and General Counsel of Centaur founded the Spectacle Entertainment company. Back in 2017, the Centaur company sold the two Indiana racino’s to Caesars for $1.7 billion. When Spectacle was formed, Rod Racliff was named the CEO and John Keeler the General Counsel.

The Gaming Commission is now investigating Spectacle after an individual from Strategic Campaign Group pled guilty to making illegal campaign contributions. Charles O’Neil is the VP of the political consultancy firm who did the dealings, which included $15,000 funneled through corporate funds of Centaur.

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It is believed that the funds were given to former Indiana Senator Brent Waltz. He ran for office in the House of Representatives back in 2015.

Casino Deal May Be in Jeopardy

Now that the campaign contributions issue has come to light, Spectacle may be at risk of losing their Terre Haute deal. A gambling reform package passed last year in the state gave the company the ability to move one of the riverboat casinos to dry land.

Spectacle was expected to be given permission to build a casino in Terre Haute in February by the Commission however, that may change due to the recent issues involving the company. A licensing meeting was supposed to take place on the 7th involving the Terre Haute plans and that meeting has been cancelled.

Jennifer Reske, the Deputy Director of the Commission, commented that the information received about the company’s involvement with the illegal contributions is concerning. The Commission is reportedly reviewing the matter.

The executives of Spectacle have yet to comment on the news regarding the company being involved in the scandal. However, this is not the first time that Spectacle has been involved in this type of behavior. Last year, local news reports surfaced that the CEO of the company took Governor Eric Holcomb and his wife on private jets two years ago, as travels took place for meetings of the Republican Governors Association.

The governor was even involved in an ethics review for his association with the members of management within the Spectacle company.

It will be interesting to see what the Commission decides to do regarding the company. Will they lose the licensing opportunity in Terre Haute? Spectacle was the only company to apply, so casino expansion in the state will suffer if the deal is not allowed to go through.

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