The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, situated within the state of North Carolina, is moving forward to purchase an Indiana casino near Louisville, Ky. The tribe, approved for retail sports betting in North Carolina, could become involved with online/mobile sports betting in the Hoosier State.
The casino, Caesars Southern Indiana, is on the market after Caesars Entertainment and Eldorado Resorts merged, resulting in the forced sale of three properties in the state so the combined company does not have too large of a competitive advantage over rivals in Indiana.
The purchase would need regulatory approval. Commercial casino gambling in the Hoosier State is regulated by the Indiana Gaming Commission, with tribal gambling under the purview of the federal government.
The tribe’s council voted this week to buy the casino for up to $280 million, with the tribe set to borrow a majority of the money. The vote reportedly was narrow and somewhat controversial among tribal council members.
Caesars runs the tribe’s casino gambling facilities in North Carolina.
The tribe moving forward to acquire the casino also comes as Hoosier State lawmakers are expected to consider online casino gambling legislation in 2021, though it might be a multi-year process for such a heavy lift. The IGC is also currently negotiating a gaming compact with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians to expand offerings at the Four Winds Casino in South Bend that could potentially include table games and sports wagering.
In addition to the Caesars Southern Indiana property, Caesars was forced to sell the Tropicana casino in Evansville.
Caesars still needs to find a buyer for Horseshoe Hammond in Northwest Indiana, which is less than an hour’s drive from Chicago. It has until the end of 2021 to do so after regulators gave the company an extension.