The deadline for Casino operators to submit a proposal for the Vigo County/Terre Haute Casino is Dec. 2nd.
The rules for deciding which casino operator will get the license to build a casino have been outlined by the Indiana Gaming Commission. The IGC is made up of 7 members appointed by Gov. Holcomb.
Determining the applicant best suited for an owner’s license, the commission shall consider:
- Economic benefits
- tax revenue
- number of new jobs
- whether the applicant plans an investment of at least $100,000,000 with 65% of the owner’s proposed investment for the development of a casino, and 35% of the investment for the development of nongaming amenties
- whether the applicant has a resolution of support from the legislative body of the unit in Vigo County where it seeks to relocate (City Council, County Council, Geeb Council)
- financial stability of applicant
- applicant’s history of community involvement
- any other factor the commission considers appropriate
Lets rewind the clock and see how this transpired and wonder if anyone will take TerreHauteNews.net’s bet on the winner.
On Dec. 21, 2016 Indiana State Senator Jon Ford announced that he was introducing a bill in the Indiana General Assembly that would permit Full House Resorts, the owner of Rising Star Casino to relocate some of its permitted but underutilized capacity from Rising Sun IN. to Terre Haute. Full house stated at the time it would build a venue estimated to cost between $100 million and $150 million. The proposal was backed by the Mayor Bennett, the City Council, Vigo County Commissioners and County Council, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and everybody else….so they thought.
Rising Star Casino wanted to move at least 740 of its gaming positions out of the southern Indiana County, Ohio County. New casinos that have opened in Ohio means the Casino in Southern Indiana has to many games not being used.
Less than two months later on Feb. 16 the legislation failed in a 5-5 committee vote. The Public Policy Committee
So, what happened? The committee members who voted it down said that it would put other casino owners in the state at a disadvantage. Impacting revenue in Evansville and not making Rising Star pay a new license fee.
Business Mogul Greg Gibson moved into action.
In March 2018 Greg Gibson formed a company called Spectacle Entertainment.
Gibson immediately launched an impressive lobbying campaign. He successfully bought Majestic Star Riverboat Casinos in Gary. Majestic Star II is the Riverboat Casino built by President Trump in 1996 and was called Trump Princess Casino. It was one of two Riverboat casinos approved for Gary IN. Trump Casino’s and Hotels went bankrupt in 2004 and the Trump Princess Casino was sold to the other casino operator in Gary IN. and renamed the Majestic II.
Gibson then started lobbying the State to allow him to move one river boat license inland to better a location and build a Hard Rock Casino. He gave the other license back to the State and received a $40 million dollar tax credit for doing so. Gibson was also able to get the proposed fees for the New Vigo County License reduced to $5,000,000 to the State, and $2,700,000 in payments to Evansville.
The Gibson lobbing efforts also successfully got a tax funded convention center built next to his Hotel Properties. Gibson’s lobbying efforts included, hiring Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) to do legal work for the Capital Improvement Board, Hiring lawmaker Rep. Jerry Torr (R) to do title work for his casino purchase, flying Gov. Eric Holcomb to Repulican Governor’s Assiociation Events, and using a well funded Casino PAC.
Full House/Rising Star Casino plans to build an RV park in Rising Sun, IN. next to its casino located there.
Terre Haute and Vigo County leaders and residents embraced the idea of a casino.
A referendum passed on Nov. 5th with 63.44% of county voters in favor of an inland casino in Vigo County.
Thank you Full House/Rising Star for spurring the casino idea.
Terre Haute rolls the dice a little different than you Vegas Folks.