The Indiana House of Representatives has reportedly passed a piece of proposed legislation that could see the area around the city of Terre Haute granted a casino license while permitting local operator Spectacle Entertainment to relocate one of its existing riverboat gambling facilities onto dry land.
According to a report from the Tribune-Star newspaper, Senate Bill 552 was passed by the 100-member body by a 78 to 15 vote on Monday after being approved by the Indiana State Senate via a similar margin in late-February.
However, the newspaper reported that the legislation yesterday approved by the Indiana House of Representatives contains substantially different language when compared with the version earlier passed by members in the upper chamber of the Indiana Statehouse. This is a result of several amendments that were inserted by Republican Representative, Todd Huston, with the specifics of the final measure now due to be worked out in committee before being sent to Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb.
Spectacle Entertainment is reportedly responsible for Indiana’s floating Majestic Star Casino Hotel and Majestic Star Casino Hotel II in Gary’s Buffington Harbor and has long been lobbying for the right to move one of these facilities to a new land-based site located along nearby Interstate 94. Under the version of Senate Bill 552 just passed by the Indiana House of Representatives, the operator would be permitted to do just this so long as it agreed to forfeit one of these casino licenses although retaining all of its existing 2,764 gaming positions.
The Tribune-Star reported that the Indiana House of Representatives’ version of the just-passed legislation moreover contains a provision that would relocate the second Gary casino license previously held by Spectacle to Vigo County, which contains the city of Terre Haute, so long as the local population approved such a move via a referendum. Should this eventuality come to pass, the measure also calls for the Indiana Gaming Commission to award the dormant license to the winner of an auction set to feature a $25 million starting price.
The newspaper reported that Senate Bill 552 is the brainchild of Indiana State Senator, Mark Messmer, and furthermore contains a framework for the regulation of sportsbetting via any of the Midwestern state’s racinos, casinos and satellite gambling facilities. This portion of the legislation was made possible following last year’s invalidation by the United States Supreme Court of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and could see Indiana bring in up to $1.6 million in additional annual tax revenues by next year.
John Keeler, an attorney for Spectacle, reportedly told the Tribune-Star that his client was ‘very pleased with the vote total’ and now looks forward to having ‘some input in that process and [that] what evolves turns out to be a good product.’
Keeler told the newspaper…
“I think there has been some posturing between the two houses in terms of setting up the dynamics for a good negotiation. We would love to come and make an investment in Terre Haute and think this would be good for the community and the state as well.”