In late March, the Indiana Gaming Commission was set to review a license application for a Terre Haute Casino. The project has a price tag of $125 million and would create opportunity for the state, but it seems such plans are going to be postponed as the only license applicant is now reportedly involved in a political scandal.
Earlier this week, Jenny Reske, the Commission Deputy Director, stated that the regulator feels they should not act right now on the single license application due to the investigation regarding the applicant. Spectacle Entertainment is a casino operator that is currently under review as executives of the company have been accused to wrongdoing.
Spectacle Entertainment would like to create a facility in Terre Haute that would be 100,000+ square feet in size with both slots and table games. Sports betting would also be provided along with an entertainment theater and other amenities. The operator of the facility would be a well-known name, Hard Rock International.
In January, it was reported that the company is involved in a federal case. A political consultant in Maryland pled guilty to illegally moving funds from a casino operator in Indiana to a lawmaker who ran for congress five years ago.
In the court papers, the operator was called Company A. The Gaming Commission has revealed that the company is Centaur Gaming. In 2017, Centaur Gaming sold a racino in Shelbyville and Anderson to Caesars Entertainment Corporation. The CEO of Centaur, Rod Ratcliff and John Keeler, General Counsel, decided to then created Spectacle Entertainment.
Spectacle was then responsible for buying two riverboat casinos in Indiana. Gambling legislation changes allowed the company to use one of the riverboat casino licenses for dry land. The deal was to create a land-based casino in Gary where the riverboat casino was located. The other license had to be given to the Gaming Commission.
Spectacle then applied for the license and it would be used for the venue in Terre Haute.
The court papers showed that illegal campaign contributions were made to the campaign of former Indiana Senator Brent Waltz. Funds from Centaur Gaming at around $15,000 were said to be contributed to Waltz.
Due to the involvement of executives of Spectacle in the illegal contributions, the Gaming Commission is looking into the matter as well. The Commission is watching for any developments to take place and they are consulting with a former FBI agent to figure out their next steps on the matter.
Because the licensing application will not be considered in March, it looks like it could be May or June before any steps are taken, either for or against Spectacle obtaining the gaming license for the Terre Haute property. The Commission wants to ensure that the host communities remain protected and that any action they take in the matter will be in the best interest of the community.