Indiana Casino Expansion Paused Amid Investigation Into Spectacle Entertainment

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A planned Feb. 7 regulatory meeting in Indiana to potentially award a license for a $150 mm casino project in Vigo County, near the border with Illinois, was postponed due to a federal court case in Virginia.

A political consultant with connections to Indiana-based Spectacle Entertainment pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws, according to a report from the Associated Press. Court documents referred to Centaur Gaming, whose executives went on to form Spectacle in 2018, as “Company A.” The court documents alleged Company A was connected to 2015 illegal campaign contributions in Indiana.

Spectacle is also in the process of building a Hard Rock branded casino in northwest Indiana at an investment of $300 mm to $400 mm. The company responded Friday to the investigation: “We take such matters very seriously and we’ll share more information should additional details become available.”

The IGC issued the following statement to wthitv.com:

The Indiana Gaming Commission is aware of information contained in court filings in the Eastern District of Virginia yesterday referencing an Indiana gaming company based in Indianapolis in 2015, which we understand to be Centaur Gaming. Certain key people in that company now own and operate Spectacle Gaming, the holder of the Majestic Star Casino license in Gary. Spectacle is also currently undertaking a land-based casino project in Gary and pursuing the new casino license in Vigo County.

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The information we received is concerning and the Commission has begun a review pursuant to its statutory responsibilities into this matter.

The meeting tentatively scheduled for February 7th to consider awarding the Vigo County casino license has been postponed in order for the Commission to supplement its investigation of Spectacle. We are working to ascertain the immediate impacts of this information upon the new casino construction project in Gary. Majestic Star Casino will continue normal operations at this time.

In addition to the casino projects, Spectacle is looking to offer sports betting through USA Sports Gaming’s BetIndiana online app. The platform was recently the recipient of a temporary vendor license from the IGC.

It’s unlikely the IGC will green-light Spectacle for online sports betting while the investigation is unfolding.

Spectacle’s gaming operations at its pair of Majestic Star casino boats in Gary will continue uninterrupted amid the investigation, according to state gaming officials.

The worst-case scenario for Spectacle is if regulators ultimately find individuals at the firm unsuitable for doing business in the state. The IGC gave no timeline for concluding its investigation.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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