In Indiana, the campaign to bring a casino to the area around the city of Terre Haute reportedly took another step forward yesterday after proposed legislation that would authorize such a venue made it through a second reading before the full Indiana House of Representatives.
According to a Thursday report from the Tribune-Star newspaper, Senate Bill 552, was passed by the 50-member Indiana State Senate in late-February and would allow local casino operator, Spectacle Entertainment, to relocate one of its two riverboat gambling licenses to a nearby land-based site in the northern city of Gary. But, the proposed legislation would also require the firm to surrender its second gambling venue with this operation subsequently being relocated to Vigo County and given to the winner of a competitive bidding process.
The newspaper reported that the original legislation, which is the brainchild of Indiana State Senators, Jon Ford and Mark Messmer, will now be subjected to a third reading on Monday where several amendments could be inserted. Such inclusions would subsequently need to be approved by the Indiana State Senate where any differences in specific language would be worked out in conference.
The Tribune-Star reported that the upcoming final reading of Senate Bill 552 could possibly involve the legislation having an amendment added that would create a distinct and independent inland casino license for Vigo County rather than tying the proposed venue to Spectacle Entertainment’s surrender of a property. The creation of Republican Representative, Todd Huston, this adjustment would allow the operator to transfer all of its existing 2,764 Indiana gaming positions to its new Gary site while requiring local voters to approve the Terre Haute-area casino via a referendum.
Should the voters of Vigo County subsequently consent to allowing a new casino to open in their midst, the newspaper reported that Huston’s amendment calls for a local gaming advisory board to be created in order to pass on its operator recommendations to the Indiana Gaming Commission. The legislator’s measure stipulates that this regulator then be required to select its top three picks before holding a final auction featuring a $25 million starting price.
Huston reportedly told the Tribune-Star…
“Well, as I’ve said before, that term expansion is used in a lot of different ways but we are going to allow the operation of a casino in Terre Haute. It’s really in the eye of the beholder and I respect both opinions on it.”