Yesterday reportedly saw Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb (pictured), put his signature to a wide-ranging piece of legislation that will allow local casino operator, Spectacle Entertainment, to relocate one of its two riverboat gambling facilities in the state onto dry land.
According to a report from The Indianapolis Star newspaper, House Enrolled Act 1015 was signed into law by Holcomb on Wednesday afternoon after versions of the legislation had earlier made it through the Indiana House of Representatives as well as the similarly Republican-controlled Indiana State Senate.
Spectacle Entertainment is reportedly responsible for the Midwestern state’s floating Majestic Star Casino Hotel and Majestic Star Casino Hotel II in Gary’s Buffington Harbor development and has long been lobbying for the right to move one of these operations to a new and more profitable land-based site located along nearby Interstate 94. The measure signed by 51-year-old Holcomb will now allow the operator to do just this in exchange for agreeing to forfeit one of its two casino licenses and pay a $20 million relocation fee.
However, the version of House Enrolled Act 1015 signed by the Republican governor will also compensate Spectacle by allowing it to potentially construct the state’s largest land-based casino featuring the firm’s full existing complement of some 2,764 licensed gaming positions.
Terre Haute option:
Should the operator decide to act on this new legislation, The Indianapolis Star also reported that the operator’s forfeited Gary casino license would subsequently be relocated to a site in Vigo County and given to the winner of a competitive bidding process, which could include the previous holder, complete with a $25 million starting price.
Such a situation would represent the first time Indiana has allowed one of its casinos to relocate to a different county although any proposed move would only be allowed after voters had voiced their approval via a local referendum. To further sweeten the pot, House Enrolled Act 1015 purportedly moreover contains language that would grant tax breaks to the future operator of the Terre Haute-area facility potentially worth tens of millions of dollars.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the just-passed legislation, which is due to come into force from July, has additionally legalized casino sportsbooks and mobile sports wagering for anyone over the age of 21 and accelerated a process that is to allow the state’s horseracing tracks to utilize live gaming tables.
Finally, the passage of House Enrolled Act 1015 has furthermore changed a stipulation that had previously permitted firms to simultaneously control only two of the state’s casinos or racinos. The recent ratification has purportedly upped this ceiling to six, which could ultimately result in one operator playing a huge role in Indiana’s budding gaming industry and contributing an ever-larger chunk of the sector’s aggregated tax revenues.