The Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) unanimously approved the application for a new Vigo County casino on Friday.
After a few setbacks, Spectacle Jack and Hard Rock plan to break ground on the new “Rocksino” this September. It should open for business in fall 2021.
The casino is projected to provide around 700 new jobs to Terre Haute, in addition to creating over $3 million in tax revenue per year.
It’s been a long time coming for the city, which has been working on the process since December.
An FBI investigation slowed Hard Rock Indiana down
All of this would have happened months ago, if not for an FBI investigation into Spectacle Entertainment. The IGC originally planned on approving the license for Terre Haute’s Rocksino back in February, before the investigation derailed things.
Here’s what happened:
A former Centaur Gaming employee pleaded guilty to funneling money from the company into a political campaign.
That became a problem since some of the involved Centaur officials now own Spectacle Entertainment.
So, in order to move forward with the Rocksino, Spectacle had to either wait for the investigation to end, or make some changes. It chose the latter.
At the time, Spectacle Jack was a division of Spectacle Entertainment that was handling Terre Haute’s Rocksino. In order to distance the Rocksino project from the investigation, Spectacle Entertainment sold off part of Spectacle Jack to a different company.
Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson now owns most of the company and is also its chairman.
Gibson was the main investor in the Rocksino to begin with. That made him the obvious choice to buy out the company.
That, combined with a handful of the involved officials resigning, was enough for the IGC to reconsider Spectacle Jack’s application.
It may have taken a bit longer, but everything worked out in the end. With the application approved, Spectacle Jack can finally move forward with the project.
Majestic Star Casinos in Gary made this possible
Spectacle Jack and Hard Rock’s plans wouldn’t have been possible without the Majestic Star casinos, which are based in Gary, Indiana. Spectacle owns both of those casinos, but is moving their licenses around.
Majestic Star I’s license will shift over to a new Rocksino in Gary. Meanwhile, Majestic Star II’s license is hopping over to Terre Haute’s new Rocksino.
It’s just the latest outcome of Spectacle’s partnership with Hard Rock as it plans to eventually retire both of the older Majestic Star riverboats.
Jon Lucas, the COO of Hard Rock International, released a statement about the company’s commitment to the Hoosier State.
“We are excited about the opportunity with Spectacle Jack to bring our unique brand of entertainment to Terre Haute and Vigo County. As construction continues with our Gary project, Hard Rock is doubling down on the state of Indiana.”
What does this mean for BetIndiana launch?
BetIndiana is now back in the running to become Indiana’s seventh online sportsbook. It’s now between BetIndiana and theScore Bet to be the next one to launch in the state.
BetIndiana received it’s temporary vendor license months ago, but the investigation tied up the sportsbook’s launch.
Regardless of the timeline, BetIndiana can finally move forward again now it’s found a way around the situation.
Even though Gary Indiana’s Rocksino isn’t open for business yet, BetIndiana can still come online using Majestic Star I’s license. Things will just transfer over to the new Rocksino once it opens.
So what’s stopping the launch?
Basically, it’s now just up to BetIndiana. Once the sportsbook has the software for its website and app ready to go, it can get the final green light from the IGC.
There’s no way to know exactly how long that will take, but the sportsbook could be ready sooner rather than later since it’s had a few extra months to prepare.